January 25, 2008


Young people stand up to be voices for the voiceless

Worried about the world that your children will encounter as they grow older?

As a parent, grandparent or adult with a vested interest in today’s young people, you should be.

It’s been said often in recent years, but it’s worth repeating: This generation of young people is facing challenges like no other generation.

A “me first” attitude, a society that has weakened and even done away with some of the moral standards that many older adults grew up with, and the effects of the Internet and all its potentially troubling influences (think myspace.com, other chat rooms without appropriate supervision and pornography only a mouse click away).

All these factors make many parents—and other caring adults—extremely concerned about life’s challenges and the resulting decisions that await today’s youths.

Here’s another cliché to reflect on: Life is no picnic. There are challenges we will all face in life and, hopefully, as we work through them, we will come out better people as a result of the experience.

As we’ve learned in recent times, that cliché has no age parameters. But in looking back, wasn’t there a time when those challenging life experiences were usually reserved for adults?

In today’s world, the message that many young people take to heart is that you need to do as much as possible, as early as possible, to get ahead in life.

For many youths, it’s the mantra that sticks out in the academic world. It plays a role in athletic endeavors and where extracurricular activities are concerned, too.

Unfortunately, many young people get the impression—rightly or wrongly—that they can never do enough to get ahead in life. Even at a young age.

As caring adults, it is our duty to nurture young people. In the process, we need to reassure them that there is nothing wrong with taking a healthy, measured approach to living life.

Most parents and caring adults do impart that message. And, thankfully, there are still plenty of instances where kids are allowed to be kids.

While kids can indeed still be kids at times, it is just as affirming to see young people take “adult” issues that concern them to heart and take steps to make a difference in today’s world.

At the Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 activities in Washington, D.C., surrounding the 34th annual March for Life, thousands of youths took center stage to show their commitment to the unborn.

A Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital drew thousands of teenagers on Jan. 21.

Despite the cold, the annual March for Life on Jan. 22 to Capitol Hill in Washington included thousands of young people, too.

Both events included several hundred teenagers from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, young people were standing up for life and remembering the more than 47 million unborn children who have died as a result of that horrific court decision.

It was truly a powerful statement.

Who thinks the youths of today’s America don’t care about their future?

If you fall in that camp, think again.

As demonstrated in our nation’s capital, young people understand that people of faith—adults and teenagers alike—are called to respect all human life from conception until natural death.

Indeed, they are ready to stand up and let others know how wrong it is to end an innocent human life.

May we never take for granted how even the youngest among us can be voices for the voiceless.

—Mike Krokos

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