Bringing out the best of one’s God-given potential is one important way of doing justice to our loving God. Every one of us has capacity to do good, to perform brilliantly and to live purposefully. Youth is a period when a human being has the wherewithal to bring out the best from the depths of their spirit, soul, mind, and body.
It is a time when the blossoming of new ideas, if well nurtured, happens. However, this process needs to be midwifed. Young people happen to be sitting on gold mines which, being unaware of them, cannot discover and exploit.
For people who accompany the youth, a guaranteed process might be to engage them in thought-provoking processes. While the youth struggle with a myriad of problems, some owed to luck of knowledge and others that come naturally with their stage of growth, the top-down approach of engaging them has been largely proven to not work.
It is important to clarify the desires and dreams of a given young person before attempting to guide them through the journey of life. It is also possible to mislead people if we are not able to identify their specific gifts and talents. Gone are the days when parents, for instance, determined the kind of career a child should pursue. Most of the time, that was not based on solid ground or judgment, but rather conjecture and parents’ own preferences. This would lead many young people to serious frustration throughout their lives. It is not formative. Youth need to be challenged, guided, and given the chance to express their desires and choices as well as initiating actions to face their realities.
In the process of instigating behaviour change, we had better be intentional and be able to predict the result which may not always be the expected one. What I am saying is that it is very useful to ensure that we are first and foremost prepared to accompany youth through given processes and not just do it because we are available and have interest to do so. The work of helping the youth requires a good understanding of their minds, their issues, and environments. It also requires love, passion, patience, and care.
In this issue of AJANEWS, the Jesuit Urumuri centre in Rwanda relaunches the AHAPPY programme with mentors and secondary school teachers. In Dodoma Airport Catholic Parish in Tanzania, a three-days youth retreat was organized to deepen their understanding and role of youth leaders. This is to help young people to be aware of their driving force in the development if they work together and listen to one another and use their unlimited talents.
Learn more about the Centre Arrupe in Madagascar (CA MDG) by reading their response to the AJAN Impact stories Project. Kindly share widely if you can.