Where does the Young Generation Go?
Adolescents (10–19 years) constitute about one-fifth of India’s population and young people (10–24 years) about one-third of the population. Embedded in this young population is a dynamic and vibrant group in the age category 15-24 years, who account for 19.6% of India’s population and constitute approximately 23.2 crores. Recognising the importance of youth in nation building and their potentialities to contribute positively to the economic output, the Government of India developed a National Youth Policy with a vision to empower the youth to achieve their full potentialities, and through them enable India to find its right place in the global community. An exclusive health programme for adolescents, Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) was launched by the Government for the age group of 10-19 years, which comprehensively addresses the health needs of the 243 million adolescents through Peer Educators and is strengthened by collaborations with other ministries and state governments.
As we know, the adolescence/youth is the longest phase in the human life cycle. This stage of life can be extremely pleasurable, exciting and some people do not want to ever leave this level. It is a time during which the young individual explores life, takes challenges – experiments with new and exciting possibilities, makes mistakes, learn from them and continue with something else. Though this stage is hardly old enough to take his/her own decisions, and yet they feel a sense of independence and act weirdly.
The above are Government’s policy initiatives for development of the youth. However, the Bible strictly gives instructions to the youngsters how to lead a spiritual life for the eternity. The Bible says, “The imagination of man’s heart is wicked from his youth (Genesis 8:21).” There are many striking examples in the Bible. Cain murdered Abel, the first murder in the Bible; brothers of Joseph took him and cast him into the well; and Solomon spent most of his time with folly. These activities are against the will of God. Paul advises Timothy that a faithful servant of God will have to abstain from youthful lusts but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those call on the Lord out of a pure heart (Timothy 2:22).
Even after the youth’s distressing behaviors, the God selected and anointed some young people like Joseph, Miriam, David, Josiah, Jeremiah etc. for the expansion of God’s kingdom considering God’s strong faith in them, which proclaims that the Lord is the God of all flesh.
The book of Leviticus is the third book of the Torah and of the Old Testament, which was written between 1440 and 1400 BC around 3,400 years ago. Most of its chapters consist of God’s speech to Moses for the Israelites. Let us think of some key instructions given to the Israelites in Leviticus Chapter 19 considering the current situations. The Lord said to Moses that you say to the assembly of the Israelites, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy”; “Honor your parents and keep the Sabbath”; “Do not turn to idolatry”; “Do not round the corners of the hair of your head nor trim the corners of your beard”; and “Do not make any cuts on your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves.” To make their own identity, now a days the youth are involving in many such time-wasting activities and spending time with energy-draining friends. As all these practices are abominable and are not acceptable to God, we need to refrain from all such wrongdoings.
Being parents of young children, we should always remember that the God has given some responsibilities to us to upbringing our children in the fear of God. What says Solomon in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up the child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Again the Psalmist says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We, as parents, will have to encourage our children to build a strong relationship with God since childhood through prayers, Bible studies, and involvement in church related activities. Simultaneously, we should make them understand that the God is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in our trouble. If we delight greatly in the word of the Lord, we shall be greatly blessed both spiritually and worldly.
In short, if we can develop a generation of the upright that will be the greatest blessing in our life. Instead, we should not think about our life with full of peace and prosperity (Isaiah 39:8) like Hezekiah.
Sis. Jolly Jose