Is Being Young Today a Mistake?

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SVD Youth Mass in Arusha

There is a proverb in Swahili that says: “Wazee ukumbuka,  vijana ukumbushwa” (The old remember,  the youth are reminded). This is something I have confirmed in my years of ministering to the youth.  It is a fact of life that young people are forgetful and it is difficult for them to concentrate on one thing for a long time.  This is their reality and it does not change easily. Even trying to change that is not the solution.

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What the young need is a constant reminder.  It is the nature of the ministry with the youth.  A lot of patience is required.  The youth are easily discouraged by little scandals. When they sense a negative attitude towards them they easily withdraw to their own-made safe-havens.  However,  these people are the best and most trusting when they find a place of refuge. Someone who believes in them and encourages them loving them the way they are.

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Many people have a mistaken attitude towards youth.  Whenever they get a chance ttoaddress them,  they use the podium to critize anything and everything about the youth.  This is an exercise in futility.  The youth cannot be instructed through negative criticism. They need someone prepared to walk with them as they painfully undergo the process of transformation towards maturity. All of us underwent that process. They need someone who identifies himself or herself with them,  like the things they like and form they with love. Someone who allows them to be their age.

Another important thing for the youth are events.  Just as their own lives are dynamic in terms of growth and education,  they as well appreciate different events and movements.  This helps them to dissipate the enourmous energies they have.  Manual work and drama is part of the ingredients.  If they do not get these in the convectional circles,  they will definitely look for it in unconventional ones. Their can be no vacuum in the lives of the young people.

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Lastly,  we cannot ignore the youth and think we are helping the society.  These are the strong pillars holding the society.  They need to be natured to take leadership roles here now, so that they can easily take over when their parents retire.  Not doing so creates a vacuum that is not easily filled.

We are all urged to make deliberate efforts to understand the world of the youth and help them be the best they can. To do so,  it is important for us to work on changing our negative attitude towards them.

Fr.  Lawrence Muthee,  SVD

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