The Gift of Youth

BlogPic_ObejaRoderickThe other day, I turned 25. This means I only have 5 more years to remain a member of WYA. No problem.  I hope to use the remaining years well. Our world has complex issues and very complex relationships. Everyone is searching for something – for meaning, for authentic friendships, for truth, for beauty – but we often do not know where to go to find these. Can we find these on Facebook? We young people are restless and dynamic. We are presented with an ever changing world that is rapidly advancing in technology and culture. We are told that we are now in the modern world. I wonder how those in the year 4000 A.D will remember our time, probably as contemporary (everything appears to be contemporary)!

Our role as young people is one that holds the great gift of dynamism: we have the opportunity to be useful. Our times are the best to be born in, because there are things to do – things to change, to discover, to learn, to re-affirm.  If we want to, we can change the world. I am not proposing that we create some utopia. The immediate world that lies around us is the world that matters.  When a person is determined to live in truth and by example, friends and colleagues see this dynamic example of a life. This person helps to shape the next generation with worthwhile values.

My mum keeps asking me if I have a girlfriend.  I always tell my mum that my girlfriend is still hiding.  Many aspire to have a great family with the most handsome and with the most beautiful princes and princesses. I would be very happy to be with a lady who has a nice smile and a big heart. We have to try our best to be the type of person whom we envision as a future spouse. We could prepare for this by studying more on the subject of family, or by talking more with our grandparents. Our grandparents have lived through life longer and have more experience. It is a little perplexing that we can prepare to be a good civil engineer for 25 years in some cases, but we just keep our eyes open long enough to tell someone ‘I love you,’ and then we start a family. Since we are young, let us also put in our best efforts to prepare for a family.

We will not act like cowards, even though it is easier to be afraid than to be brave. We will not forget Ockham’s razor, the principle which states ‘that the simpler of two explanations should be preferred.’ However, we should never use our preference for simple actions to justify passivity or ‘not doing.’ We should be ready to move, however long and rough the road might be. We should guide ourselves by the solution that answers more authentically, what is the common good of society? We are young and full of life, and we will spend our lives working and thinking with courage and depth: how can I better serve my society? This dynamic energy of youth has the potential to shape long-lasting ideals.

The future is in our hands; let us not avoid that responsibility. One day, you could be the next Secretary General of the UN, internationally acknowledged. Or, your path could lead you towards being an excellent gate keeper, known to just a few other people. Both these roles give to the common good. The important question to ask now, is, how do I take what has been given to me, and use it to contribute as a member of my community? We must choose truth and goodness always. If we do this, we will secure the future generation to come. Otherwise, what is the deeper purpose to what we are doing now? Amidst the challenges of looking for a good job, a nice spouse, a quality education, food, and the basics of life, we should remember that both innovation and initiative are requisite of us. We should read more, so that we can know more, and so that this knowledge can guide us.  We are the youth, and that means that we can give a great gift of ourselves.  We can be of use to others.  We can bring innovation and creativity to society. We can bring the love and integrity that will shape the future generations that are to come.

By Obeja Roderick, WYA Africa Regional Director of Operations