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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 9, 2018
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Engaging the
mind and heart

This is the perennial challenge the elders face with respect to how to deal with the youth. And it's a challenge that is made more exciting these days since the differences between the elders and the youth of today are definitely sharper and more complex than they were some generations ago. This, I believe, is due to the faster pace of developments nowadays.

Just the same, things just have to be done. In fact, the greater the challenge, the more determined should the elders be to face it. Those in authority—parents, teachers, priests, public officials, etc.—should just try their best to effectively interact with the young ones. If there is a will, we can always find a way. If the will is weak, we can only find excuses.

This would certainly require of the elders some adjustments that can even be radical and drastic. Yet with their age and experience, they are in a better position to adjust to the young—the so-called millennials and Generation Z—than for the young to adjust to the elders.

Yes, as much as possible, we the elders should know the language, the mentality and sensitivity of the youth of today, so we can relate to them. We have to deal with them the way they are, but also keeping in mind the way they ought to be. We need to spend time with them, even “wasting” time with them, if only to be with them. And from there, eke out a way of properly motivating them.

The thing to do is to find ways of how to engage the minds and hearts of these young ones properly. We cannot deny that we are seeing a lot of them plunging into all sorts of anomalies

Many of the young people today are simply floating and drifting with no clear direction, or are idle and falling into all kinds of trivialities and inanities. It's really a pity because it is in one's youth when the roots of idealism should be set and developed, their virginal energies properly directed.

This means that the elders should know how to inspire them such that they realize sooner or later that it is God from whom all good things they have come and to whom they should be most attracted. The goal to aim at is to make God the strongest object of the youth's desire, the one that should completely engage their mind and heart.

But how to present this ideal is, of course, the big challenge, given the fact that there are just too many alluring and absorbing distractions around. It is hard to make the spiritual and supernatural realities compete with the worldly things that give the youth instant pleasures.

This is where the spiritual and supernatural means of prayer and sacrifice are truly indispensable. And from there, constant dealing with the youth, developing friendship and winning their confidence, and slowly but steadily injecting the truths of faith that are truly redemptive of everyone's wounded human condition.

This is where we can talk about the need for self-denial and carrying the cross, as Christ himself said clearly. Perhaps, we can make use of the usual economic idea that if we want to prosper inbusiness, we need to divest ourselves of something to invest in an enterprise that if managed well, will surely give us a lot of dividends.

The goal should be that the mind and heart of the youth are engaged with God.*

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