Youths and Attitudes Towards Leadership and Other Responsibilities

YOUTHS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS LEADERSHIP AND OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES

Who is a youth? A youth is someone whose time of life falls between childhood and adulthood [1]. Scholars argue that age-based definitions have not been consistent across cultures or times and that thus it is more accurate to focus on social processes in the transition to adult independence for defining youth [2]. “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease”, Robert Kenney [3]. Youth is the stage of constructing the self-concept. The self-concept of youth is influenced by several variables such as peers, lifestyle, gender, and culture [4]. It is the time of a person’s life in which they make choices which will affect their future [5].
Attitude on the other hand can be seen as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities and ideas. It could be concrete, abstract or just about anything in your environment, but there is a debate about precise definitions [6]. Attitude affects a person’s perception or behavior towards a particular idea or area of interest. Attitude can be seen as being good or bad depending on the kind of perception we keep towards a particular thing. We keep a positive attitude towards things or people we respect and believe, while maintaining a negative attitude towards things we consider less important and useless.
Leadership is doing the right things (Peter Drucker). “Responsibility” as a word has various definitions. In this context, responsibility has to do with youths being able to stand up to accept their duties as children who should ensure the security of their parents, and accepting their duty as parents who should look up to the welfare of their children. These should be done without any compromises to existing circumstances and pressures. So many of us (youths) today, do not see leadership as being part of our responsibilities. We treat leadership with the same attitude we show towards those things we regard with less importance, but that is a huge mistake. A small fraction of today’s youths actually do believe in themselves and their responsibilities; but many of us are still looking down on ourselves and acting like we do not have anything important to offer the society. We let our current difficulties dictate us and limit our foresight towards a brighter future. We let our current pains prevent us, from seeing the joy of the future. We fail to accept that God has greater plans for our lives, and that the pains of today are just experiences grooming us for greater tasks ahead. If only we can hold on and be patient with God, these great things will come to pass in our lives. Many of us believe we have been cursed by fate to be born into unfortunate circumstances and so we condemn ourselves into living a life full of recklessness, hopelessness, prostitution, hate, theft, cultism, and all kinds of illegal and immoral activities that destroy every chance we have of ever getting a bright future. We drop out of schools at the slightest provocation, we take advantage our scarce means to engage in various kinds of illegal deals when we can endure these temporal situations and trust God to give us a way out. The society has failed us in terms of providing an equal sphere for all of us to grow as equals, but these wild lifestyles we adopt will only destroy our good and productive God-given talents; thus planting the seeds of destruction in our lives. We add more work to our parents who should now be resting by leaving them with the burden of taking care of our responsibilities and working restlessly to erase all the destructions we are creating. Though the difficulties we are facing today are a part of past mistakes caused by the society at large; only we can change it or the destruction will keep on getting worse from generation to generation. We can put a stop to these menaces if we really want to, because God has given us the physical, mental and spiritual capacity to do it. We cannot do it alone and so we need God to direct and strengthen us in this great journey of hope and victory. We need to make these sacrifices for our generation and for the sake of our own children and other unborn generations. If every single man in this world will do his best to be better, the world will be such a pleasant and beautiful place for every one of us, both for those living and those yet to be born.
No matter the pains and deprivations we are facing today, I believe God has designed everyone one of us for a great purpose; to be good, to be extraordinary, to go beyond limits, and above all, to live a life full of love, peace and joy. If we have not achieved all these, then it means we have not yet accepted the life God has designed for us. If only we can see our present difficulties as moments of learning instead of a period of drowning, we would gain a lot of experiences and wisdom that would help us in carrying out the great roles God has designed for our lives. If you believe that you are born in the image and likeness of God, why would you ever think that God will take time to make you in such a special way, and then go ahead to hand you a useless or fruitless destiny? We need to realize this: that God has great plans for our lives, so also is the devil determined to take it away from us. The devil envies our positions in God’s plans and wants to take us into the same fate he has been condemned to face; a fate of eternal condemnation, filled with agony. My dear fellow youths, for thousands of years gone, the words of men have died, the truth of men have changed over time, yet the promises of God had remained alive and unchanged. The word of God had ever remained evident that: time, changes and technology can never overcome or change the quality divine truths. As simple as it may look or sound, the words of the scriptures carry meanings whose depth no one can fathom except with the help of the Holy Spirit. A lot of times I have come to realize that the hardest part of understanding the scripture lies in our acceptance of the person of Christ. We cannot fully understand or see the beauty of the words of the scripture until we have fully accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives. A little doubt about His person, and we cease to see the beauty of the word. I believe that the only way to discover and restore our true selves is to establish a very strong relationship with God. We may see it as a thing meant only for the old, but reality has proven to us that death does not see age as a barrier. Anybody can die at any time at any circumstance. But the beautiful thing about establishing a very strong relationship with God is that you become fearless about death knowing that it would only get rid of your flesh but your soul and spirit will be saved forever. And with God, no matter how short you live, you will accomplish great things at a very young age that even those who are now old and helpless may have been unable to accomplish in their lifetimes. Why? Because you allowed God to use you why many of them may still be living in the illusion that God does not even exist. No matter how intelligent, smart or experienced we think we are, no single man can understand the entirety of the universe, it would remain infinite, and that which we do not know or understand, remains greater than us. Your education, your family background, your tribe, your social status, your religion, your old life and all kinds of attachments that we (human beings) use to qualify ourselves do not matter when God wants to use you to accomplish great things. The only thing He wants from us is Faith and we cannot do this if we do not truly love Him. Loving Him completely requires that we also extend this love to our neighbors. If we love Him, we would believe Him and have an unshaken Faith in Him. Jesus did not just preach Love; He lived it. He proved His divinity yet still lived among us as one of us: He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; He suffered, died on the cross and rose up on the third day. Who else has performed these wonders and so many others that Jesus did?
Jesus Christ started His ministry at a very young age and ended it as a youth, but the impact of His ministry has remained and will continue to remain forever. He is a perfect example for all youths, who because of present difficulties and pressures have been pushed to think that they may not live long enough to make positive impacts in the society. These kinds of thoughts make the devil to take advantage of these fears and push us into accepting a life of recklessness and ungodliness. This kind of frivolous life over time as result of accumulated evil thoughts and deeds tends to prevent us from seeing the truth and the consequences of our actions; this spiritual blindness further manipulates us into thinking that our sinful actions have no consequences, and it goes further to make us feel so intelligent that we then begin to think we have finally found concrete reasons enough to blame God for our predicaments. In the end, when our lives and youth have been wasted to frivolities, we become very wise but now physically too weak to embark on any meaningful developmental projects to help humanity and to make up for the destructions we have caused the society. Jesus came to show us the way to do everything, and the only way to breakthrough difficulties like He did is to follow His every step. It sounds difficult but if we truly and deeply love Him as we are supposed to do, everything will become easier if not completely simple. Accepting Him is the most difficult thing especially when over the years; all we ever allowed into our minds and hearts are things and thoughts that have nothing to do with God. But if we can sincerely ask Him to help us, He would gladly help us to purge away all those vengeful thoughts and selfish feelings we have accumulated towards the society and for ourselves. Jesus’ life teaches us that we can achieve so many great things within the shortest available time as youths by simply committing our spirits into God’s care with all trust. By doing these, we allow Him to direct our lives and guide us towards the destiny He has designed for everyone of us; great destinies and not things that will destroy us. He knows us better than anyone else, because He created us Himself. He is ever close to us even though He cannot force His way into our lives until we allow Him. The youths need to be saved, and only we can save ourselves. As youths, we need to accept our responsibilities as the saviors of our generation and as guardians (and protectors) of both the future and older generations.
The reason I am laying more emphasis on the youth for a change is because, every destruction or decadence in the society always starts and centers itself within the youths. I believe that the devil, knowing that the youths are physically and mentally active, always tries to destroy their spiritual and mental foresights in order to hinder them from carrying out their ‘God-designed’ roles on earth. Instead of rising above these temptations and try to make ourselves worthy of being used for greater works, many of us (youths) succumbed to these evil temptations and do so easily. Why? We fall easily to these temptations because they come disguised with the kind of pleasures we always desire and fantasize about. They come at points of desperations, that is, when we tend to need them the most. They come in form of sex and money; the two main sources of pleasures in life. When these things come to us from evil sources, they usually look so attractive and irresistible at the tops, but deep down is where the devil plants his seeds of destructions and manipulations. The more we allow them, the more we become spiritually blind and distant from God’s great plans for our lives. When these evil seeds of destruction begin to manifest in our lives; instead of examining our choices and actions, we instead, under the influence of evil manipulations, begin to blame God for rejecting us. We forget how we always ignore His pleading voice of conscience each time we are faced with temptations, and instead of stopping, we go ahead to do what pleases us at that moment. Sometimes we take His mercy and grace for granted, we intentionally commit the sin and then come back to ask for forgiveness. We may think we are smart, but when this kind of smartness for instance results to a pregnancy and finally, the delivery of a child we cannot cater for, what then happens when we ask for forgiveness? Will the child disappear? No one is perfect but we should not use our imperfections to become worse. These days, we have so many youths giving birth to children they cannot cater for. How sure are we that these kinds of children will offer any better hope for the future? It only takes the grace of God. But how many of them will be fortunate enough to accept God when all they are usually surrounded with are: hatred, rejection, poverty, pains, heartbreaks, and so many kinds of painful circumstances? I believe the youths take up the largest fraction of the entire human population worldwide. So any change within the youths’ population has a great effect on the rest of the population. When youths are properly trained, they become responsible. They become responsible parents to their children and also take to heart, the responsibility of caring for the older generations. The youths need to be saved, and only we can save ourselves.
Over the years, we have been experiencing bad leaderships because of faulty youths’ histories. A bad generation of youths can hardly produce good leadership because every leader today is either a youth or was a youth. So if the attitude of youths at a given period is faulty, the consequences would be faulty leadership. Now is the time for us to make better choices for ourselves and for our future generations. We need to begin to train ourselves for various responsibilities as leaders in the family, organizations, associations, political offices, and so many others. We should not just focus on political offices even though they are important places to serve the people, but focus on all forms of leaderships because only God knows exactly where He want us to go. As human beings generally, we cannot escape responsibilities as leaders. You must have a family or a group of people to guide. You cannot be a leader at all places or a follower at all times. You may be a follower here today and a leader somewhere else tomorrow. You can be a follower today, and become a leader tomorrow. Most youths do not realize this until it is too late. Everyone has a significant role to play in this world. Many youths condemn themselves into believing they can never be able to assume any leadership role someday and so confined themselves to the roles of ‘deadly pleasures’ leaving the burden of leadership on the older generations who apparently should be resting. The reason the older generations still think we are incapable of assuming leadership roles is because of our careless and disrespectful attitudes towards leadership roles. The older generation may not be better themselves but they would rather prefer to handle the situation on their terms than let it slip into what they sometimes regard as the ‘irresponsible hands’ of today’s youth. We have failed in various leadership roles and unfortunately proving some of our older generation right; “that we are incapable of handling leadership roles”. We feel disappointed when they sideline us, but how can we prove them wrong when the youths are the major tools of destruction today. We allow ourselves to be used and those who use us, come back some day to accuse us of being incapable. To claim our rightful place, we need to change ourselves. Do not wait until you assume a leadership role before you start learning how to lead; that is a period of leading not really a period of learning how to lead. Make everyday count; take every opportunity to learn new things about your immediate surroundings, nation and the world at large. Learn how to become a better person every day. When you improve yourself daily, you give God an opportunity to enter your life, and once God is in your life, He would lead you to that great destiny He has designed for you. Do not be deceived by earthly definitions of a leader. Human beings may define a leader in terms of appearance but God looks in the heart. You remember how David was anointed king by Samuel in the Bible? In first Samuel chapter 16:6-7 (R.S.V.P.); “When they came, he looked on Eli’ab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God can use anybody with a good heart to redeem His people from the evil hands of tyranny and corrupt leadership. We should also learn to judge people by the contents of their hearts because outward appearance can be faked but inner personalities can never be faked, we only have to ask God to help us understand the inner nature of people especially those we want to assign to leadership positions. I pray that all youths will reason and accept God and allow Him to control their lives and move it in the direction of hope, victory and happy endings. I also pray that parents who have taken the welfare of their children for granted will cease a second opportunity to reaffirm their fellowship with God and bring up their children with love and instill the fear of God properly in them before they finally go out to live independently on their own. I want the youths’ to stop blaming themselves and their parents for the mistakes that had happened in the past and stand up as one united family towards bringing sanity to our societies and restoring the love and peace of Christ into our lives and our neighborhoods. Be strong, be bold, learn hard, dream big, work hard, and pray hard, have faith in God and the time shall come when we shall celebrate. Every great prize demands also a great price. If you believe, then you can achieve. Do not allow peoples’ opinions or your present situations define your life, only God’s opinion about us counts in this world full of hates and fakes. As you make your decision today, may you never give up to temptations, but that you remain above all obstacles until you finally achieve the greatness that God has designed for your life. God bless you for taking your time to read this piece. God bless you!

REFERENCES
1. “Youth”. Macmillan Dictionary. Macmillan Publishers Limited. Retrieved: 20- 11- 2015
2. “Youth”. Merriam- Webster. Retrieved: 20- 11- 2015.
3. Tyyskä, Vappu (2005). “Conceptualizing and Theorizing Youth: Global Perspectives”.
Contemporary Youth Research: Local Expressions and Global Connections. London: Ashgate Books, pp. 3. ISBN 0- 7546- 4161- 9
4. “Day of Affirmation, University of Cape Town, South Africa. June 6, 1996”, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Retrieved: 20- 11- 2015
5. Thomas, A. (2003). Psychology of Adolescents, Self- Concept, weight issues and Body Image in Children and Adolescents, Pp. 88.
6. “Attitude”. Wikipedia. Retrieved: 20- 11- 2015.

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