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Parents, Society, Church and the Youth

Sep 3, 2008, 5:56 AM | Article By: By Augustine Kanjia

Youth are the future leaders, it is said and the Church recognizes this point and takes it as vital. Youth are given preference in the Church for their own development and growth. The youth of the Gambian church have a pivotal role to play in the life of the Catholic Church and in society at large. Certain hard times bring back youth from realizing their full potentials for the realization of their role as future leaders in society. The youth also others will blame for bad attitude towards their future lives but the youth is between the Church, parents and the society what is their role towards the youth? Christian Panorama looks through and offers some answers, read on.

The home is the first teacher comprising of the mother, father and other elders of the family in an African setting. The parents are said to be incharge of the child's growth and early beginnings, which means they owe a lot to the molding of the child from its inception. Children according to psychologists are born with empty brains, what they term as "tablerazers," meaning empty. The brain is empty until those brains are filled. This takes quite a painful period and parents should be more careful at this stage to enable them get the best.  From the early stage of these developmental stages in man, the neighbours too play their own role in the molding or filling of the brain to what the society would use later. In a Christian setting the parents show very good examples to their children especially through their Christian living. They are obliged to teach them to love God and teach them to pray all the time. Teaching them morals is part of molding them into what it is supposed to be. Many parishes have formulated youth activities, starting from children to the young adult. Parents are only asked to send their children to be a part of such groups. Many parents fear to send their children to such functions so as to get their children under control at home. Most children are not able to comport themselves when parents are absent. Thus bringing the fear to release their children.

The community too sits to watch the good or bad children. Mostly the onlookers that are the neighbours fear to help children fearing other parents' reaction for instilling discipline. The community has a limited space to discipline those that do not belong to them.

Parents have the bigger say and should be flexible either with the youth, the society or the church in the development of these children. They will receive the greater bit of the successes their children will score as elders or future leaders.

Pope Benedict XV1th. recently met with world youth in Sydney Australia. He previously met with them in Germany. Gambian youths were a part of it and today many of them dream of attending such functions to enhance them.

It was with disappointment that the ticket for going to Australia could not be purchased by some youth that could not afford it. Those who could afford it were refused visa to that country. Society could have done more to ensure that these youth, anxious to meet other youth made to go. But their passports were sent and returned rejected. This made a lot of the youth loose hope and become lazy about their organizations. Many churches did not do much either to see that one or two of their church youth go for the youth function.

Gambia Catholic Youth have not relented either. The Diocesan Youth Council (DYC), responsible for youth activities of the Diocese of Banjul recently called on all youth of the Catholic Churches for a Summer Youth Camp in a secluded area called Soma. This is in line with what Christ Himself had done with His Apostles when he took time out to pray and reflect alone. The DYC under the guidance of Joseph Colley, who has been fighting tooth and nail to bring the youth together, spent four days with the youth in prayer, fasting and reflection. The Summer Camp announced all over the churches could only attract ten of the youth in the diocese. Many people said most of the youth were busy with their summer classes while others feel more should be done for them by helping to pay their camp fee.

The Youth Summer Camp held from August 27 to August 31st. and attended by ten DYC members was a success according to Pierre Mendy. He said they prayed, played and meditated a lot on their future and the past to forge ahead for a better youthful days. He said they were mostly impressed by the youth behaviour and encouraged parents to be part of their children's growth. "We believe parents have a pivotal role to play to enable youth be more useful as future leaders," Pierre Mendy said.

Asking one of the parents why she did not let her two children go for such a youth experience, Rose Mendy said it is a good thing for children but it was not easy to let go of my kids for such a vital exposure. "The only problem is I am not sure of what is there and the money too was expensive. It could have cost me nearly a thousand including pocket money for the two of them. Apart from that I could not be sure of girls leaving for an unknown place," She said.

The problem here for the growth of the youth remains fear, poverty, parents and society and the slow pace of generosity in society. Parents need help to help their children and so it is to put things in place for the development of these youths who would take over from the elderly. "Let us invest on our youth and at our old age they shall improve our lives with the new trend of things we shall not be in line with but they will be vital for our existence," says David Noah of Bakau.