As we begin the New Year, Christians and all the people of good heart are looking forward for another year;
which is a gift from God to humanity. A year that the world all over wishes to be marked by justice and peace.
The New Year 2012 should be approached with hope and trust, an attitude we find in Psalm 130. The Psalmist
says that people of faith wait for the Lord “more than those who watch for the morning” (v. 6); they wait
for him with firm hope because they know that he will bring light, mercy, salvation. If we enter the New Year 2012 with this attitude of confident trust, it will help us not to over dwell on frustrations of the ending year which has been universally marked by the crisis of the world economy, a crisis whose roots are primarily cultural and anthropological. In the New Year, and many years to come our hope all over the world should be in the young people with the conviction that with their enthusiasm and idealism, they can easily offer a new hope to the world.
On the other hand, we cannot talk of the youth without turning to parents, families and all those involved
in the area of education and formation. Attentiveness to young people and their concerns, the ability to listen to them and appreciate them, is not merely something expedient; it represents a primary duty for society as a whole, for the sake of building a future of justice and peace.
In 2012, we should learn how to communicate better to young people, how to teach them to appreciate the
positive value of life and to awaken in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good. This is a task which engages all members of a given society.
In Africa as else where in the world, the youth have expressed the desire to look to the future with solid
hope. At the present time, they are experiencing apprehension about many things: they want to receive an
education which prepares them more fully to deal with the real world, they see how difficult it is to form a family and to find stable employment; they wonder if they can really contribute in order to build a society with a more human and fraternal face. Hence, it is important that they receive due attention at every level of society.
The youth need a strong and reliable education; which enables them to move beyond themselves; introducing
them to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. This process is fostered by the encounter of two
freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason, today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader. A witness is someone who first lives the life that he proposes to others.
The family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace. In their families, children should learn the values which enable them to have a constructive and peaceful coexistence. It is in the family that they learn solidarity between the generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and how to welcome others.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world where families are constantly threatened and frequently fragmented
due to different reasons: working conditions, worries about the future, the frenetic pace of life, the need to move frequently to ensure an adequate livelihood, to say nothing of mere survival for some parts of the world.
It is our hope as older generation, that if the young people are educated in an environment of openness, they will develop a spirit of dialogue, cohesiveness and attentive listening, where they feel appreciated for their personal abilities and inner riches, and can learn to esteem their brothers and sisters. In that way the young people will cherish the joy which comes from the daily exercise of charity and compassion towards others and from taking an active part in the building of a more humane and fraternal society. In order to reach this kind of education, the media must offer its own contribution. In today’s society the
mass media have a particular role: they not only inform but also form the minds of their audiences, and so
they can make a significant contribution to the education of young people. It is important never to forget that the connection between education and communication is extremely close: education takes place through
communication, which influences, for better or worse, the formation of the person. And this will always have a great repercussion on how that individual person builds his or her society.
(Compiled from the Pope’s message of the World Day of Peace 1/ 01/ 2012)