“We are keepers of our brothers and sisters”
You have heard many a time when an adult, possibly pushed to the ropes by a young person, demand respect based on their age. “I am older than you, respect me”, is a popular rebuttal when a young person happens to differ with a stated opinion, but is this a good approach?
Between the age of 13 and 25, a young person has a great curiosity, enthusiasm, and interest to learn everything they can about life. Their main subject are the older people around them who may be teachers, parents, and others. Of major interest to them, is the character of these people they engage with.
Therefore, it important that we set the correct example that we want them to emulate. If our intention is good, we must also be intentional. A superficial life gives the example that we may not intent that they learn from us. An outburst with insults, for example, may not be easily forgotten. This is because they have seen how you respond to pressure when another person irritates you and they will consider that the norm.
When you demonstrate a lack of patience under a little bit of pressure, you are sending an involuntary message that it is not possible to be patient. The beautiful thing is that the inverse is true. Being a role model is not a job that happens automatically, you must be intentional. If you often curse loudly, for example, the younger ones will begin to store that in the subconscious as something normal.
Repetition is a powerful form of communication. The more something is repeated, the more believable it becomes to human beings. Negativity, even in media communication, has great impact as the seed grows in the subconscious. There are young people today who will tell you that they hate life, others will tell you that they are not truly happy. There is a burden they carry, and it is largely mental.
God created the human being to thrive in all dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social. God takes constantly into consideration those dimensions. Could we learn from him? A role model must be cognizant of these aspects for effectiveness in moulding the young ones. It the role of the elder to show the way in words and deeds. Rude messaging, for instance, may appear as a simple and an act of the moment, but young people learn from it and are impacted negatively. God created a human being to thrive in a positive atmosphere. We must intentionally incubate that kind of atmosphere. Showing a means that you need to know it better. To know entails also learning. Should not the older get ready to learn from young people, listen to their stories and struggles?
This second edition of AJANews in 2022 presents you with reports of activities from the AJAN secretariat and the prison chaplaincy in Kenya, Centre Maisha DRC creating awareness at Limanga, lent reflection, and the progress of the AHAPPY programme in Rwanda.