Young people are caught in a vicious cycle
Everyone expresses concerns about the youth such as the media, private sector and the religious community, yet very few really show that they care.
We tell our youth to "say no to drugs", but we entice them to drink alcohol with seductive images on billboards, TV and ads on the radio.
At an age where they are hardly responsible enough to handle the pressure from their peers, they are told to be sexually responsible and avoid teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases; yet they are bombarded by a society that glamorises all types of illicit sexual activities. Our young people are continuously barraged with these double messages.
There are multibillion-dollar corporations that take too much and give back too little. They invest millions in their efforts to market their products to our youth. Young people wear the latest fashion, go to their functions, eat more fast food and drink more beverages that any other group in Jamaica. Yet only a few corporations are making even a small investment in our youth. If these corporations invest and apply carefully calculated marketing strategies to reach the youth, to hire them and invest in the people who buy their products, our young people would have a better outlook and a better chance of making it.
Though sometimes misdirected, there is much love expressed by the church on behalf of the youth. Unfortunately, however, the church loses more young people to this vile society than it gains. The church, in its zeal to carry out the mandate to preach the word without compromise, has overlooked the needs of young people in this modern secularist society. Thus, instead of them having a positive influence upon their peers, they succumb to the negative pressure. The efforts made by the home and the church accomplish very little. In times as crucial as these there are too many churches with a lopsided agenda. The church must take some responsibility for the youth of Jamaica and make their social, mental, physical, and spiritual development a part of its agenda. We must put forth considerable effort to teach youth the value of what is socially acceptable in a society that is so diversified and pluralistic.
So men and women of goodwill, let us join together for the purpose of offering positive alternatives to our youth.