Prof. Leena Jose T.*
The young people are emphasizing ‘the other side’ of the coin which we forgot to see. Theirs is not a contradiction or rebellion. If we call them rebels, some of them may become rebels. So, fathers and mothers, please do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of unconditional and merciful love.
Part 1: Accompanying the Young Minds in Traversing the World of Ideologies
Part 2: Many a Paradigm Shift
Part 3: Equal Dignity: the Title Song of the New World
Part 4: We Want to Accompany Your Joys
Now we can tell our young ones: “To you it often happens that the adults around you do not know what they want or expect from you; or sometimes, when they see you very happy, they are wary; and if they see you worried, they revitalize what happens to you. Many of you ask that someone accompany you and understand you without judging and that he/she knows how to listen to you, as well as to answer your questions. Every institutionally structured religious process sometimes persists in attitudes in which it has been easier for us to speak, advise, propose from our experience, rather than listen, rather than to be questioned and illuminated by what the youth live. Very often the religious communities close, without realizing it, and they do not listen to your concerns. Now we know what you want and expect: to be accompanied not by an inflexible judge or by a fearful and hyper-protective parent who maintain dependence, but by someone who is not afraid of his/her own weakness and one who knows how to enhance the treasure which, like a clay vase, he/she keeps in his/her bosom. Today, we want to tell you that we want to cry with you if you cry, to accompany your joys with our applause and laughter.
“When we adults close ourselves to an indisputable reality, you frankly say, “You do not see?” And some who are more daring have the courage to say, “Do not you realize that no one is listening to you anymore, nor believing you? “. We really need to convert ourselves, to discover that to be by your side, we have to reverse so many situations that are, ultimately, those that take you away. We know that many young people do not ask us anything because they do not consider us as a valid interlocutor for their existence. It is terrible when elders behave in such a way that young people think: “They will not tell me anything that can serve me for my life”. Some even ask that they be left alone because they find the presence of the elders painful and even irritating. And that’s true. You say yourself, to be a “transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, accessible, joyful community, a community that communicates and everyone can participate”, that is to say, a community without fear. Fears close us. Fears push us to be proselytes. And fraternity is something else: the open heart and the fraternal embrace.
“It might seem that love is dead …. but we know that it is not and that we have a word to say, a message to bring, with few words and many actions, for you are the generation of images, the generation of action, more than speculation and theory. Speculation, theory and ideology have become museums. Life is not a museum”.
Let’s resist the tendency to see our life as if it were a museum of memories. The life is life, is future, is hope! It’s not a museum.
Let the old generation come out of their museums and be at home with the young ones.
(The 4-part series concludes with this)
* Editor, www.viewspaper.in; Director, Outlook Retreat; Former Member, National Executive, CCI (the consultative body of CBCI); Former Vice-President, KCC (the consultative body of Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council); Member, Central Liturgical Committee, Syro-Malabar Major ArchiEpiscopal Church. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org