His Eminence Cardinal Berhaneyesus, C.M., Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, President of CBCE and AMECEA Chairman has called on parents to be a primary and reliable means of information for their children.
He said that this post modern era is a challenging time for the youth to make an informed decision about their life and the path they want to choose. His Eminence said this in the speech he delivered at the national forum on building integral being of adolescents and youth organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Youth and Sports in Addis Ababa.
The forum focused on the many challenges youth and adolescents in Ethiopia are facing today such as different addictions, identity crisis and others and the effects of such challenges on the overall development of the youth and their achievements.
Speaking on the occasion H. Em. Cardinal Berhaneyesus, C.M., said that the youth are the main actors called by God for a country’s religious, political, cultural and economic advancement; they are endowed with courage and capacity to create new things and contribute to development.
However the Cardinal pointed out that living in this digital age where the youth are bombarded with different unfiltered information they are highly influenced to fall onto undesired habits. “Today our young and adolescent children are exposed to various positive and negative life philosophies which reach them instantly. Many youth are lucky enough to be able to make the right choices, they are dedicated to developing themselves with knowledge and life skills and they are ready to take over their country as the new generation but at the same time many others find themselves challenged to choose the right path and make informed decisions. These groups fall on the traps of drugs, harmful practices and end up being weak achievers in their lives,” said Cardinal Berhaneyesus, C.M.
He added that in a country like Ethiopia where the majority of the populations are youth such obstacles have a negative impact in development efforts. Moreover, he said such influences are taking away from them their God given talents to identify their true calling and engage themselves in the road to reach their destiny.
His Eminence stressed that parents, religious leaders, teachers, media and the society as a whole have big roles to play in alleviating these challenges and called on all to engage in a more organized, manner to protect the young generation from addiction and related problems.
He also recalled that the Catholic Church in Ethiopia is paying attention to addressing the needs and questions of the young and adolescents through various programs. He also mentioned that only recently the Church implemented the Teen STAR program in 155 Catholic and other public and private schools, and 5 universities reaching 355 teachers, 70,870 parents and more than 35,435 youths providing them holistic life skills that would help them know their worth and expect to reach the maximum of their potential.
He lauded the Ethiopia Ministry of Youth and Sports for recognizing the critical needs of the young and adolescents and organizing the forum and said that all stakeholders should pay greater attention to alleviating these challenges that are threatening their spiritual life and ethics.
By Makeda Yohannes (Ethiopia Catholic Secretariat).