Building for the Future During Youth
Helpful facts that young people want to know
ARE you young, perhaps under twenty? Then you are going through a very important, a very crucial, part of your life. How so?
Because you are laying the groundwork for the kind of man or woman you will be in the future. You already know from experience that what you do today affects your life tomorrow. If you quarrel with a friend today, tomorrow either you make up or else the split between you widens. If you study well today, school tomorrow is easier.
But the things you think, say and do affect more than what your life is like tomorrow. They affect next week and next month, even years and tens of years later. They can leave scars almost beyond erasing. Or they can contribute toward building a strong foundation for a happy, productive, satisfying life. Is that what you want?
Some young persons are already crippled or are blind or deaf because they took foolish risks that brought serious accidents. Some get ‘hooked’ on drugs, and from then on their life is a wearying struggle to support a costly habit. Some contract venereal disease, and before it can be stopped damage beyond reversing has weakened some part of their body. Girls may become pregnant and find themselves with the burden of an illegitimate child in their early youth. Granted, these are not pleasant things to think about. But they are happening, as you know. Will any of them happen to you? That depends on how wisely you build for the future.
But some say, “Who cares about what comes afterward? Youth is the only time that really counts; after that nothing matters.” Is that true?
No, it is not. Instead of being the high point in your life, youth is just a transition period. Your body, for example, does not reach complete physical maturity until somewhere between the ages of twenty and twenty-three. Emotional maturity may take even longer. So since you are still in an “in-between” period undergoing preparation for the future, why look on youth as if it were the “end of the road”?
True, you are no longer a child. But you are not yet an adult. Many changes are taking place in you—physically, mentally and emotionally. Some of these changes can make you feel confused, upset or unsure of yourself. You feel new pressures inside you and you may feel perplexed as to how to control them wisely. But if you understand these changes and pressures, you can adjust to them, learn to cope with them and find satisfaction in doing so. This is all part of becoming an individual, a distinct person: You.
So, youth is a time of real challenge. The way you meet that challenge will greatly affect the kind of person you will become. And remember, once lived, youth is gone forever. Why waste the opportunities it offers to build for the future?
Young people today are usually allowed to spend much of their time equipping themselves with knowledge, perhaps even learning trades or skills. But they can also observe and think about what older persons have done, and are now doing, before they themselves become involved in similar occupations and pursuits. Yes, in youth you can begin to get insight into what life is all about. You can consider what different courses have resulted in so as to avoid the foolish mistakes of many as well as benefit from the wisdom of others. You can set your own goal in life.
Can you do all this on your own? Would it make sense to try? Before you answer, consider this:
Would you, if a boy, attempt to build a car engine by yourself without first trying to learn about mechanics from others, from persons with experience in that field? Or would you, if a girl, try to make an evening gown without a pattern, without ever having read anything on sewing or even having seen anyone sew? No? Then, remember that human living is a lot more complicated than a car engine or an evening gown.
We all build on the knowledge and experience of others. This is a simple fact of life. But to do this we need to communicate. If there is no communication, there is no drawing on such knowledge and experience of others. Do you communicate? With whom? With those who have knowledge and experience? With your parents?
Perhaps you look at the world around you and you feel disgusted. You see crime, injustice, war, greed, lying, cheating and hypocrisy. You may say, “Why should I talk with older persons when they have made such a mess of things? What could I learn from them?” True, many older persons bear guilt for these things—either because they do these things or because they support and approve the systems that are responsible for them.
But did you ever stop to think that many older persons are just as disgusted with the badness they see as you are? Realize, too, that all the world’s troubles did not begin just with your parents’ generation. Things have rapidly been getting worse for over half a century now, especially since 1914—and people who are old now were then just youths about your own age.
So, then, why not try to learn all you can from your parents? After all, why have you lived as long as you have? Because of your parents’ love and interest in you they fed, clothed and kept you clean, cared for you in sickness. It would be hard to calculate how much of their time, money and effort you represent. Besides this, from whom did you learn about the dangers of fire, boiling water, sharp objects, electric sockets, poisonous things, the dangers of city traffic? If you had not learned these things from your parents, would you be here in as good a shape as you are today? So why start doubting their sincere interest in you and your happiness now?
Of course, you can see that age and experience alone do not bring all the answers to life’s problems. Otherwise things everywhere would be getting better instead of worse. So, is there a higher source of information and guidance to which you can turn? Yes, there is. That Source is your Creator, Jehovah God. He has given mankind his Word the Bible to answer their questions and guide them in wisdom. And the Bible does not direct your hopes toward the present failing systems that have filled the earth with so many dangers and problems. It points you to new systems that offer something far superior.—2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4.
Maybe you have never read the Bible. You may wonder if the information in it can really solve your problems, answer your questions. You will never know unless you look into it. More than that, even though the Bible contains the finest counsel, this will not benefit you in the least if you do not work at applying it in your life.
The publishers of this magazine you are reading appreciate the challenge that youth faces today. Because of this, during the months to come this magazine will carry articles especially directed to young people. It will seek to answer many of the questions young persons are asking, questions others may have not answered for them. These articles will not appear in every issue, though it is our hope to have at least one each month. Look for them. Read them. See how God’s Word the Bible can help you to meet the challenge you face and to build for a happy and worthwhile future.