THEME: NURTURING AND STRENTHENING THE YOUTH AS CRUCIAL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY
International Family Day is a UN observation day celebrated every 15th May each year since 1994. This day celebrates the importance of families across the globe as well as promoting a well-balanced and healthy family life ergo this day celebrates the importance of the family as the basic unit of the society.
This day has been adopted by many countries around the globe where each state family agency takes time to celebrate and appreciate the importance of the family unit in conjunction with their cultures, traditions and beliefs.
WYA recognizes the vitality of the family in the WYA Charter which states that “fundamental unit of human society in the family, where men and women learn to live in genuine freedom and solidarity, and where individuals are equipped to fulfill their social obligations”. World Youth Alliance Africa participated in the National Family Conference in conjunction with Kenya Christian Professionals Forum which was held at Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speakers from International Institute for Legislative affairs, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Strathmore University, Grace community International and the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya showed considerable concern about the challenges facing the youth in families and the world at large where cases of increased school dropout, early unwanted pregnancies among girls, increased drug abuse and parental absenteeism in their children’s life and welfare is considered as norm.
Due to the deteriorating family values and lack of effective discipline and policies the Youth remain unimpeded to succumbing to negative peer pressure, drug and life-controlling addictions. Whilst the speakers spoke from their own personal experiences, one of the respondents from the crowd gave his own personal experience on how he and his father are estranged because his father didn’t care much for him and how he relied on his friends and the internet to get information on sexual relations and activities, and this had made him ask himself, “Is this where my current Youth generation heading? Are we being intentionally ignored by our parents?”
Dr. Stanley Mukolwe, a board member of Grace International of Houston Texas, recognizes that the youth are an integral part of the family and they should be treated with care, shown love, given respect and attention. He has written two books entitled “Raising the Next Generation” and “Raising Future Parents”. He clearly states that for the values mentioned above to be upheld, both the parents and their children should strive to protect the family at all costs since the parents play a critical role in shaping the lives of the youth who are the future parents.
The major aim of the speakers was, first, to inform the forum of the new family concept and the role of parenting in nurturing and influencing the youth locally, regionally and the world at large; and secondly to emphasize the importance of family and why it should be promoted and protected.
From the conference, I understood that it is vital to celebrate and appreciate the young people in the families since they are an integral part of the family. We, as the youth, are the carriers of family names and genes in the next filial generation and henceforth until the end of time. I also learned that as much as we as the youth should be valued, I also realized that we have responsibilities such as assisting with house chores, respecting our elders, being hardworking in order to be independent, and assisting the other members of the family financially, spiritually, mentally and physically through interactions amongst family members.
It is therefore vital for nation states and its respective leaders and state authorities to respect, promote and ensure a conducive environment for family growth and functions as well as the respect and promotion of their intrinsic human rights and human rights laws stipulated in their various states constitutions and as well as that stipulated in the international law since the family has a privilege to produce free and responsible citizens which secures the democracy of a state.
Written by Pamella Oddotte, a current Batch 2 2016 intern at the WYA Africa Regional Office.