• Young leaders of today, the hope for tomorrow

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    Fr. Shay Cullen

    Fr. Shay Cullen

    The incredible courage, bravery and dedication of young people are what the world needs to inspire and lead it into the future.

    Malala Yousafzai is a striking example of the capability of the youth to give the good example, where adults are failing. Her speech to the United Nations ignited the hope and activism of youth around the world.

    Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin because she was such a powerful determined advocate of the universal rights of education. She shows just how influential young people can be if only we listen to them and allow them to play a role and to take the lead at times.

    The adult leaders—parents, teachers, politicians, and the general public—should realize that there are great youth leaders and youth groups who are giving their time and energy to save the planet and help the hungry, the oppressed, jailed children.

    They are campaigning for one important cause or another. They need the encouragement and support of the adult world because they deserve it. It is the right way to educate and develop good positive and caring character and personality in the youth as they are growing up. The youth are the leaders of the future and they will take on the duty and obligation to support the aging generation.

    What they need to grow strong and mature besides healthy food and education is the nourishment of their inner self with spiritual values.

    There are things that cannot be bought from the supermarket: trust, respect, affirmation, inspiration, encouragement, good example, security, emotional support, affection and friendship.

    A nation is judged by the way it cares and nurtures its children. How very true this is.

    Parents teachers and authorities in general ought to put aside the age old practice of  asserting negative authority over young people. The youth are filled with a desire to be acknowledged, respected, and encouraged in their activities, not to be scolded,  judged and chided for youthful enthusiasm, immaturity and mistakes. We all make mistakes.

    That’s why  tolerance understanding, patience, and forbearance are what adults need when dealing with them. Then they will  learn to overcome human frailties as they grow to maturity.

    Given encouragement and respect they will become advocates of the good and beautiful just as Malala has done. Her parents are also to be admired for giving her the opportunity and support in her pursuit of education in the face of threats and intimidation.

    It must be seen that these youthful heroes are striving to do good for all. And what greater good is there than to  sacrifice for the well-being of others? The young people of the world have these desires and hopes, and they must be allowed to exercise them with adults providing the team work they need.

    Young people must be given the opportunity to express themselves in the arts, music. and theatre.

    Self- expression is essential to young people to enable them to arrive at a sense of their own self-worth and value as a human person. They can reach that through the opportunities provided to them by the adults in their lives.

    There is the Filipino Akbay Theater group supported by the Preda Foundation. Over the past many years, groups after groups have trained, practiced, and performed their musical  drama to near perfection. They are passionate and dedicated to inspiring and enlightening their audience about young people’s social realities of life. They use this as a form of self-expression and an educational tool that appeal to the hearts and minds of the audience.

    They spend hours and days in preparation for their local and international tours across Europe, as well as in countries such as Canada, Australia, and Japan. There they have inspired the people and moved them to tears. Then with their own real characters formed on this commitment most carry it over to lives of virtue. They have honesty and integrity as strong-minded servant leaders. When they marry and have a family, they will have the same life-enhancing virtues of loving care and sacrifice for their wives, husbands, and children.

    The volunteers at Preda Centre, Filipinos and several other  nationalities are the model of youth in action. They are living out their belief and faith in a greater eternal force of goodness and love. The gospel message of the good Samaritan is uppermost in their hearts and they want the opportunity to make it a reality in their everyday lives. These are the youth leaders of today and our best hope for  the future.

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