Headline: Our Youth Must Be Told

Posted on: 2014-07-22

Mind success and failure Graduating secondary school students in Nigeria’s are primed at this period to hear parting exhortations from their teachers, parents and guardians as they officially vacate the schools which have nurtured them for the last five or so years. It is a good period to remind the teeming youth, as they depart, that they have the responsibility more than anyone else to craft their own future and show responsible management of their time and resources, henceforth. The conclusion of every stage in life is the beginning of another. These are not the best of times in Nigeria. Public ethics and personal morality are at the lowest ebb but our youths should be reminded to avoid finding excuses ab initio for not doing well. Such excuses are simply nails on the coffin of failure. Good principles of the thumb for them as they go to face life should be: “the harder they come the harder they fall, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory”. Mind the parable of the sower Numerous young Nigerians have simply vacated their dreams, country and future in order to find greener pastures elsewhere. Many have perished in the mirage of a bright future, voided in the vast desert or drowned in the belly of the sea. Our youth must be encouraged not to vacate their fatherland and the hope of its recovery so easily for flimsy hopes. Jesus Christ told us one of the best tales for personal responsibility in the parable of the Sower. He taught that God the creator of all does his duty to everyone without exception (Is 55: 1-10). The sower and sowed in the same manner on every terrain for God has no favourites. (Acts 10:34). No one can claim not to receive blessings from him. Be treasure in Clay Our youth must be told that every terrain represents a class of people. The produce and the result of the sowing of the seed depends on the nature of the soil which receives the seed. Some seeds fell along the path, devoured by the birds of the air; some fell on rocky soil, the sun scorched them; other seeds fell on thorns and those choked them; but some other seeds fell on good soil and they produced a bountiful harvest, some thirty, others sixty and some others a hundredfold, each according to his capacity. Every youth must self-check and ask: How does my terrain facilitate the growth of the vital input sown in my young life by my God, parents, guardians and teachers over the secondary school years? How will my own “raw material” favour positive values and passion for the common good? Young people need to learn that their youthfulness is a treasure, a resource capital for transformation, for changing their environment and for transforming lives including theirs. Cope where others crumble That was the kind of youth King David was (l Sam. 16ff). He graduated into the life of Israel when that nation was intimidated and harassed by Goliath. No one could dare the Philistine. David detested the ridiculing of God’s name and the people of Israel. When he opted to challenge Goliath he could carry no armour for it was all too heavy for him. He went only in his youthful enthusiasm, vigour and faith. He trusted in the God of Israel, conquered Goliath and transformed Israel’s destiny. (1Sam. 17) Today, the Nigeria is harassed by the Goliath of corruption and weak leadership. Can a David emerge from our youth to conquer him even as the older generations cower and fret? The answer is “Yes” for, with God nothing is impossible. Our youth must be helped to sustain their right to dream of noble things. Be the best they can be Jesus said “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. He did not exclude the youth from that exhortation. Our youth must be told to strive to be the best of what they are meant to be wherever they find themselves: Martin Luther King junior, the American human rights activist said these powerful words: “if it falls on your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, a writer, write like Shakespeare wrote poetry, a musician compose like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘here lived a great sweeper who swept his job well’”. Of course they can choose their own local models, but the key is to be the best of whatever they choose to be. Keep God on their side Our youth must never condescend to ever leave God out of their life’s plans. The Bible says: “The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness” so it pays to have God on their side. (Ps 24:1ff). Youths must refuse to see God and religion as a burden and a problem. That would merely disestablish God and Godly values from society. God put them here and he knows best how to navigate his world. If they keep God in their sight they will need no miracles, they will always be the miracle. “I bless the Lord who counsels me, who even at night directs my heart. “I keep the Lord ever in my sight”, says the psalmist, “because he is at my right hand I shall stand firm.” (Ps. 16:7-8) Our youth needs God, everybody does. Saint Paul long ago wrote in his letter to Timothy: “let no one reproach you on account of your youth. Be a model to the believers in the way you speak and act, in your love, your faith and purity of life” (1Tim 4: 12). Our youth must be told to take those words seriously!