Youthfulness is the beginning of dreams and the end of innocence; yet, it is one of God’s uncommon blessings to humanity. It presents opportunities that can be matched with skills, values that are responses to problems and work that can be done because of the abundance of life’s primary resource – time.
As beautiful and glorious as youthfulness is, it is often plagued by choices (good and bad). Due to inexperience and the absence of credible guides, most young people make choices that will later trouble their lives, sometimes irreparably. Sometimes, the abundance of credible guides, whose perspectives to life are skewed towards their own personal experiences, is worse. Unconsciously, they seek to perpetuate their wins and losses as ‘The Way;’ a string of wrong and devastating choices would then follow, with consequences.
Youthfulness is indeed a blessing; but it is a dangerous mix of strength and vulnerability.
But how will a youth find his or her way without help? Since he or she is not matured, how will he or she find his or her path without difficulty? If he or she follows after the parents, it will be the continuation of the parent’s lives, not his or her own dreams. Wait! Come to think of it, is this not what family is all about – perpetuity of life, values and heritage? Think on that . . .
Should he or she seek a different path, for reasons bothering on a need for change or just in search of adventure, what are the chances that the parent will be of any REAL help along the chosen path? How will he or she navigate the ‘wild’ of life, especially since new territories are usually uncharted? Should his or her dream be viable in already charted territories, what are the chances that he or she will not become a legitimate slave or prey to wicked people, who exploit the gullible for personal gains alone?
Well, I was a very young youth, I am an older youth now, these are the lessons I have learnt under God . . . hopefully, they will be helpful to you as well.
1. Youths are bound to make mistakes. You will need to learn a lot of things in life; if not from home, they would be from someone or somewhere outside the home. A major part of these will be from the things you got wrong. Learn the lessons, leapfrog with them into your future, and leave the pain behind.
2. Do not be fooled, you will one day question everything you have been taught and told. What you know to be true will turn out to be lies; those you have been conditioned to see as false will gradually unfold as the enduring truth before your very eyes. Be flexible. Try not to make it personal [this is not going to be easy though]. Focus on the wisdom you gleaned from it, not on the failures of people, in whom you had much confidence.
3. Who and what you like will change like the skin of a chameleon in different environments, but who and what you love endures, no matter what! Love God, love yourself, love your neighbour, love life . . . the rest will be just fine with you just liking them. Situate your love in deep convictions, not the visible; what you like is allowed to change at will; afterall, life is meant to be enjoyed.
4. Do not be reckless, every choice has consequences. Present compromises will haunt in the future. So, be sure to think deeply and consult widely before making your choices; a wrong choice in who and what you love will terribly affect you. Be passionate, but do not be driven by it . . . it is capable of setting fires [sometimes unquenchable ones] in your life. Be measured and moderate instead; there is wisdom in it.
5. Your best investment should not be in things, it has to be in persons. First in your relationship with God – your Creator and then in people – family, friends, fans and foes [Yes! even your enemies]. The Word of God is your most reliable source for counsel, you will do well to run every other counsel through with the Word of God. The Spirit of God is your most dependable Guide, you will not go far and well in God’s plan for you without Him.
Finally, though youthfulness is a gift, it is one with a shelve life. It expires without notice, you will do well to use it wisely. Run your race, not the runners . . . focus on winning by finishing strong, not necessarily finishing first. As long as you finish well, the prize is yours too.