Happy Youths in a Mixed-up World
“VERY touching.” Those words were used to describe a particular occasion at the recent “Sacred Service” District Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was eye-catching, indeed, to observe so many teen-agers sitting together as a group in a reserved section during one of the assembly sessions. But why the unusual seating arrangement?
The talk “What Does Youth Want out of Life?” was specially directed to young persons. For it, teen-agers were asked to sit together in reserved seats. During this discourse the speaker released the new 192-page book Your Youth—Getting the Best out of It. To the delight of all assembled, a free copy was given to each teenager in the reserved-seat section.
“A person’s youth can be one of the happiest periods of life. Unfortunately, for many it is not. Changing standards have created a mixed-up world, and today’s problems often rob young people of happiness. This book is published to help them to see the solutions to these problems and so get the best out of life now and in the future.” Thus commented the book’s publishers.*
Can this objective be attained? How has this book been received? Please note what people have been saying in letters to the publishers.
READABLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD
Concerning this publication, some youngsters have commented: “It certainly has cleared up many things which were foggy in my mind.” “I truly enjoyed reading it because you handled a variety of ‘touchy’ subjects in such a straightforward and honest way. And, of course, one’s attention was always directed to Jehovah’s Word, the Bible.” “It is very frank, not ‘beating around the bush,’ and seems to ‘hit the nail on the head.’” ‘I feel the book was written with much love and was frank. Yet you didn’t feel embarrassed when reading it.’
Some of this book’s chapters are entitled “Growing into Manhood,” “Moving into Womanhood,” “Dating and Courtship” and “Can You Succeed in Marriage?” Such subjects are handled in a straightforward, but dignified and Scriptural way.
‘WE KNOW YOU UNDERSTAND AND CARE’
Doubtless, many youths feel that older persons do not really care about them or understand their problems. “I never really believed that grown-ups knew what all we teen-agers were going through,” remarked one girl. “But you do and you let us know that straightforwardly by really telling it like it is—which is, of course, the best way.” Pleased with the new book, another youngster stated: “I know that you care for the youths as well as for the older ones.”
SPECIFIC AID IN SOLVING PROBLEMS
Centuries ago, the Biblical psalmist said: “How will a young man cleanse his path? By keeping on guard according to your word. . . . Blessed you are, O Jehovah. Teach me your regulations. . . . For your statutes I shall show a fondness. I shall not forget your word.” (Ps. 119:9-16) In this mixed-up world, youthful curiosity often leads to experimenting with unwholesome things. Yet, for true happiness, young persons need to ‘keep on guard according to God’s word.’
One young reader of the Youth book admitted: “I was indulging in a small part of the ‘experimenting’ that worldly youths engage in and the book so vividly warns against. I am so happy for all other youths around the world who will have this wonderful information firsthand without having to experiment or learn it the hard way!”
A seventeen-year-old girl dedicated to God said: “It has not been easy to keep the right mental attitude toward such things as sex, music and dating. This is especially hard because at school abusing these things is taken so lightly that even if you stand up for what is right around other kids at school, you still are affected by their attitude.” She also remarked: “The world says, ‘You’re not cool if you don’t get drunk.’ So the Witness could think, ‘I’m really not a drunkard if I get drunk only once or twice.’ But I really appreciate that point on page 102 of the Youth book that says, ‘just one bad experience with alcohol can bring lasting damage.’”—Prov. 23:29-35.
Some students fail to see the practicality of their studies. However, the Youth book shows young readers why they should apply themselves in school. On one aspect of this matter, a young Witness wrote: “This past semester my grades have not been very good, and the chapter ‘Why Study in School?’ helped me to realize that I should try my best in school because I am obligated to do my best as a Witness, giving a witness to my friends.”
WARDING OFF SATAN’S ATTACK
The apostle Peter admonished fellow Christians: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Pet. 5:8) Satan resorts to various “machinations,” or “crafty acts.” (Eph. 6:11, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures) His attack may involve outright persecution or some subtle methods. But by strengthening one’s relationship with God, this new book aids youths to cope with Satanic attack. Interestingly, a twenty-year-old wrote: “Youth is very hard. Coming out of the world has a pull on you. Satan is trying his best.” She said that the Youth book “really helps” to cope with such things as mental depression. “It seems that . . . worldly influences are getting worse all the time,” commented another girl, “but with this little book and God’s Word, the Bible, it’s so much easier to ward off Satan’s tricks.”
The Youth book urges young girls to concentrate on the inner adornment of a “quiet and mild spirit” produced by the “secret person of the heart.” (1 Pet. 3:3, 4) “Although I’m only thirteen,” wrote one girl, “I really can appreciate your counsel on always being concerned about the inner person of the heart.”
Another youth particularly enjoyed the chapter “How Do You View Your Parents?” She had not been getting along well with her stepmother, but says: “After reading that chapter, I started changing my attitude toward her. I have a love for her I never had before.”
ALSO APPRECIATED BY ADULTS
Appreciation for the book has also been expressed by adults. Wrote one Christian woman: “I have found it most interesting and wish that we’d had this book when I was about twelve. It surely would have helped to eliminate much sorrow and many heartaches.” Another Christian woman remarked: “The Youth book is a real aid, just what I need to help in understanding the many problems the young ones are going through that I as a forty-year-old never knew anything about when I was a teen-ager. Thanks to Jehovah for this wonderful book.” Similarly, a Christian man commented: “I thank Jehovah for his guidance and direction to you for such a timely publication, not only for our young people, but also for adults like myself to come to a better understanding of the obstacles that confront our young people.”
One letter stated: “As parents of four teen-agers, we needed the Youth book, and they are delighted with such a help for the problems and pressures they face.”
SPURRED TO ‘REMEMBER THE CREATOR’
The chairman at one of the “Sacred Service” assemblies remarked: “The attention given to youth and the provisions made for them truly manifested Jehovah’s care in their behalf.” How appropriate that Christian youths should reciprocate, showing appreciation for God’s care! This they can do by heeding the inspired advice: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’” (Eccl. 12:1) Fittingly, this new book encourages youths to remember their Creator during their young manhood or womanhood, before experiencing the effects of old age.
One way to ‘remember the Creator’ is to tell others about him. Accordingly, some youths have been especially eager to use the book in declaring God’s truth to others. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) They have been looking forward to using it in telling the good news from house to house, and have made such comments as these: ‘I can’t wait till I can use the book in the field service. A lot of teen-agers in the world are looking for answers to their problems.’ ‘I’m anxiously waiting to use it in the door-to-door witnessing activity.’
The book Your Youth—Getting the Best out of It is sure to promote happiness among many youths as they apply its Scriptural advice in this mixed-up world. For lasting happiness, of course, persons young and old need to manifest the attitude of the psalmist, who declared: “O God, you have taught me from my youth on, and until now I keep telling about your wonderful works.”—Ps. 71:17.
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.