"Youth" is often defined as the time of life between childhood and maturity-although, generally speaking, it refers to those who are between the ages of 15 and 25-a period in a person's life when he develops deeper understanding of the crucial truths about the life and the world around him.reality tells us that form generation to generation , not every young person gets educated, nurtured, and properly exposed, to the same social, moral, religious and political environs that can alter or define what he or she would be in the future. Imagine the horrors of parents of yesteryear's in knowing that their children do not accept but even challenge the ideals of their elders.
Nowadays, as economic pressure demands that both parents work to make ends meet, many are left with very little quality time to dedicate for their children, to correct their way-ward ways, steer them in the right direction, and teach them values and good manners. In many instances, the children are charged to the care of babysitters or left to their own devices after school, during which the young lock themselves away with their computers and other technological gadgets, and tethered to the Internet where they can find violent ideas and gruesome visuals.
Many of these youngsters find e-mail and social networking sites as the way to socially connect with others-a cheap substitute for in-person friendship and interaction. Bombarded with movies where mayhem is standard fare or sitcoms in television that deal with many powerful issues and social pressures of everyday life, so many kids grow up lacking the influence of a positive role model, thereby struggling to figure things out on their own. Some of them may even become incapable of separating reality from fantasy. Sad to say, the role models that some tend to copy and follow are the negative ones.
It is not surprising then that many of the young people today turn to substance abuse to suppress those feelings of neglect and abandonment. The situation is even exacerbated by peer pressure, family problems, and the allure of gang affiliation, that for some satisfy that need for acceptance or the sense to belong and feel loved.
Some sociologists even opine that childhood is one long self-indulgence. The paradox is that social ineptitude, lack of confidence, shyness, and even intense self-absorption to some are the very afflictions eating up some youngsters today. They may be getting standardized education but many end up lacking "soft" skills--are inept in engaging in a conversation, are not very flexible, and don't even know how to be polite to other people.
Hence, in the attempt to address the problems of today's youth, others tend to put the onus in education, societal norms, and even parenting. With the number of kids growing up in single-parent households steadily increasing, it is feared that the personal commitment on, if not the parental supervision of such children is becoming more and more inadequate.
Growing up in such permissive societies with various sectors offering a panacea for the "ills" of the youth today, to whom should servants of God turn to for real solutions? The wise King David replied: "Sovereign LORD, I put my hope in you; I have trusted in you since I was young. I have relied on you all my life; you have protected me since the day I was born. I will always praise you"(Ps. 71:5-6, Today's English Version).
'I put my hope in you', meaning,in God, is the emphatic declaration of King David. God "formed" us "from the womb" of our mothers according to the Prophet Isaiah (Isa. 49:5, New King James Version), and it is His constant hand that one can trust, hope and make the source of his confidence. Over and above the so-called ABCs of life, what parents must instill in the puerile mind of their children is this fundamental biblical truth: God is the origin of life, that we are His handiwork and certainly, not a by-product of evolution.
What responsibility is incumbent upon the children of today from the days of their youth? The man of God clearly says: "So remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal days and years come when you will say, "I don't enjoy life" (Eccles. 12:1, TEV).
Parents are duty-bound to train up their children not only in the way they should go but more so in acknowledging the Creator. Indeed, children should be taught not to let the excitement of being young make them forget about their Maker, but rather they should make it their prime objective to honor Him. They ought to realize that even if they are young currently, they won't be forever. Life itself is frail and man's time on earth is brief and but for a moment (Job 14:1-2).
It is nice to have friends or "to belong" as others would like to put it. But not so much to put your confidence in them (Mic. 7:5) for Apostle Paul succinctly explains that "bad companions ruin good character" (I Cor. 15:33, TEV).
The recorded experiences of God's servants of old tell us about the folly of putting too much trust in friends. King David sadly admitted that even his "friends and neighbors will not come near me, because of my sores" (Ps. 39:11, Ibid.). Likewise, Job glumly remarked, "My closests friends look at me with disgust; those I loved most have turned against me" (Job 19:19, Ibid.).
It would be correct for the youth of today to avoid being seduced giving in to the so-called 'rite of passage' of "trying" the various vices and haunting grounds of evil people just so as not to be tarred by the derisive term "greenhorn." God strongly instructs the youth, thus:"Do not go where evil men go. Do not follow the example of wicked. Don't do it! Keep away from evil! Refuse it and go on your way" (Prov.4:14-15, Ibid.).
No one can really predict when hard times or "bad luck" might come if he or she will not heed God's instructions. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy, when calamity falls suddenly upon them (Eccles.9:12, Ibid.).
There are some quarters who say that the youth of today are better educated, have a lot more money to spend, and enjoy more freedom. But the Prophet Isaiah debunked the belief and thinking of young people who feel a sense of invincibility and pride themselves in their knowledge and wisdom, by declaring that such will only lead them away from God (Isa. 47:10-11, Ibid.). That is why disaster shall overtake them suddenly--so suddenly that they won't know where it comes from. King Solomon also taught that "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Prov. 14:12, New International Version).
How repeatedly do men, young and old alike, even after very close scrutiny, find themselves making the wrong choices in life? Such is the limitation of man no matter how scholarly and knowledgeable he seems to be. Man, therefore, should heed the advice of his Creator when He explicitly expressed what He wanted man to choose and why, when He declared, thus: "I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. Love the LORD your God, obey him and be faithful to him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land..." (Deut. 30:19-20, TEV).
A simple but powerful edict: "choose life". This is what one opts to receive if he will choose to love God, obey Him, and commit himself to Him. The specter of death, punishments and various calamities afflicting mankind lend witness to the wrongness of the choice so many have made.
But all is not lost because beneath the barrage of "youth problems" is a sliver of hope being offered by God Himself. The route that young people take to adulthood may have become more complex and difficult than before, but the same road is also paved with young people who are overcoming incredible odds and succeeding. The youth can find their way back to God's grace and loving companionship if they would simply listen intently to His admonition which states: "son, don't forget what I teach you. Always remember what I tell you to do. My teaching will give you a long and prosperous life. Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart. If you do this, both God and man will be pleased with you" (Prov. 3:1-4, Ibid.)