By Naomi Santos
It is often said that today’s youths are tomorrow’s leaders. They are our future leaders because hopefully they will outlive today’s leaders. Historically, this is essentially true. They are the pillars upon which the success, progress and prosperity of a nation’s future are built. When their strength, potentials and creativity are properly harnessed, they are great assets to any nation. But when their abilities are not properly channeled, they can become a great danger to themselves and the society. This is the reason why every organization, church or nation that hopes to remain relevant in future must give priority to the development and training of its youths. There will be no success without a successor.
The youthful age is the most exciting, active, dynamic period of one’s life. This stage of life is characterized by physical strength, dreams of a great future, a quest for adventure and acquisition of knowledge and experience. At this stage, one can achieve the best in life. The average youth is full of hopes and dreams. They want to try new things, discover and create things. In a way, these are advantageous to them because this penchant to discover, create and try new things can be channeled towards productivity. Besides, some great innovations in the world today were pioneered by young people who were curious, passionate and adventurous; young men and women who dared to dream.
If the youths are well guided and mentored, they will discover their God-given potentials, and channel those potentials towards problem solving. They will not only be useful to themselves and their families, they will also be making substantial inputs to national development.
Youths should know that life is not a bed of roses; it certainly has its ups and downs. Like the two sides of a coin, we all experience both good and bad times. Sometimes, it could be a setback, disappointment, limitation, suffering, lack or loss. And at other times, it could be a breakthrough in academics or a successful career. Your experience in life is not the problem but the way you handle it matters. Learning how to manage whatever life throws at you and making the most of it is one skill every youth ought to equip himself with, because the vicissitudes of life spare no one. So the question is, how do you manage life’s outcomes?
Also in our contemporary times, so many discoveries and inventions have been made by young minds. 25-year-old Jerry Mallo invented sports car christened “Bennie Purrie” which Governor Simon Bako Lalong unveiled at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja recently. The sports car is the second major breakthrough of Jerry Mallo who rose to limelight after the tractor he invented which clinched the Presidency’s star price in the twenty-eighteen small and medium enterprise award.
Governor Simon Lalong who was delighted to unveil the red and black made in Plateau sports car said the state Government would partner with Jerry Mallo towards finding technological solutions to some challenges affecting food production in Nigeria.
Lalong also said, the state government has so far empowered more than thirty thousand youths, women and people living with disabilities after the launch of its skills acquisition programme through the Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, PLASMEDA.
Also 16-year-old Olivia Hillisey discovered a way to detect Ebola in less than 30 minutes compared to the current method that takes up to 12 hours to get results. The youths cannot be who they ought to be without the loving and gentile guidance of everyone charged with the responsibility of molding their lives. Parents, guardians, the church, the government, teachers, youth workers, and all adults are stakeholders in this business and all hands must be on deck to raise great youths.
The home, parents and guardians: The home is the first school any child attends and the parents or guardians are their first teachers. A child’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development begins here. Consequently, parents should endeavour to promote and support the all-round growth and development of their children at every stage of life. A child that is well trained will live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life while a child that is not well groomed will grow up living a lopsided life, becoming a liability to his parents and the nation.
The church, mosque: Apart from the home, the church, mosque also plays an important role in nurturing and helping the youths achieve their divine purpose. The goal of the church should be to help the youth establish a relationship with God, teach them how to abide in the Lord and serve Him in love and reverential fear. To do this, youth workers must be passionate and patient. They should come down to their level and befriend them. They should seek to understand their situation before criticizing and judging them. Visit them in their homes, show interest in their well being, provide the shoulder they can cry on, and see about helping out with whatever challenge is confronting them.
Elderly people in the church/mosque should always resist the temptation to get into any kind of tussle with youths. They should not approach them with an attitude that says, ‘We are the elders and we know it all’, we are always right and you are always wrong; we are holy, you are corrupt’, we are; experienced’ and you are inexperienced’, ‘you must listen because we are adults.’ They won’t be able to impact these youths with these kind of attitude. They should show them love and understanding; intercede for them, but don’t hesitate to correct them when necessary.
The government and school: the government and the school also have vital roles to play in shaping the lives of the youths. This can be fully achieved through education. No doubt, education is the backbone of national development. It equips people with knowledge and skills that bring about economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability in a nation. The government should endeavour to build more schools, provide free and quality education, especially for the less privileged. Youth empowerment programmes should be organized from time to time. Besides classroom activities, schools should provide avenues for youths to interact with their peers and teachers so that they can develop communication and health relationship skills.
Timely advice for the youths: Dear youth, you cannot leave things to chance if you hope to achieve your good purpose for your life. You have to work towards making it a reality. The youthful stage is the most active and productive stage of life. Use this period to prepare for the future, bearing in mind that every decision you make today will either make or mar your life.
You must, therefore, possess goodly and godly virtues that will distinguish you when you step out to confront the realities of life. Don’t misuse or abuse your youthfulness. Channel those energies and vibes of yours into solving problems like good youths.
Shun violence, drug abuse, examination malpractice, human trafficking, cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, and other vices. Hold on to the good values you’ve been taught and strive to be the best you can. Use your youthfulness to promote nation building. Don’t live a careless life; use your skills, strength, creativity and imagination for your country