AS Zambia and the rest of the World commemorate the Youth Day, it is important to appreciate that the youth are an integral part of the development process and should always be placed at the core of project implementation at various levels.
Thus Youth Day should be celebrated with a clear message and purpose in order to remind those in the prime age and Government about the significance of involving this age group in all critical affairs of a nation.
In Zambia, the theme for this year’s Youth Day is apt: ‘Zambia at 50; promoting youth mainstreaming for sustainable national development.’
This invariably means that the youth must be recognised and given a prominent role in sustainable development.
Firstly, it is imperative that a young person is nurtured into a responsible youth who should be able to participate in development at household, community and national levels.
In this regard, parents are the prime drivers of this process while the youth themselves ought to embrace religious and other values being propagated for their well-being. If they are not well-nurtured, the youth get mired in delinquency.
In the recent past, the media has been awash with stories on youths who have committed serious crimes.
Some youths have been hooked on drugs and alcohol, two depressants that are dangerous to the young people who are expected to value their lives highly.
Parents must offer guidance while teachers in schools are expected to supplement efforts and offer appropriate counselling.
Of utmost importance, the youth should embrace Christian values as illustrated in the Bible and other pieces of literature. They should equally follow Christian teachings from Church leaders.
Pope Francis in his message to commemorate World Youth Day put it plainly: “Young people who choose Christ are strong: They are fed by His Word and they do not need to stuff themselves with money, possessions and fleeting pleasure.
“Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy. The youth must learn to be free or detached from material things, living simply, being concerned about the essentials, but learn to do without all those unneeded extras.”
These are important sentiments from the Roman Catholic leader for the youth to digest and conduct themselves in a manner befitting people expected to be leaders in future.
Indeed the youth should not be preoccupied with material possessions and fleeting pleasure, but they should aspire to excel in areas that will not only benefit them, but the community at large.
Locally, Vice-President Guy Scott rightly encouraged the youth to continue being peaceful and not to be swayed by elements intending to destabilise the country, which has enjoyed peace from pre-independence era.
The Vice-President’s observation has come at the nick of time and youths need to appreciate sentiments from the second highest office in the land.
In many instances, malcontents in society tend to use the youth to drive their illegal agenda and they usually abandon them when the long arm of the law catches up with them.
We appeal to the youth to remain steadfast in their education, entrepreneurship and other progressive activities.
Progressive youths are an asset to this country! OPINION