A Future for Today’s Youth
GEORGE, after working with an insurance company for some time, had to leave for personal reasons. He was 20 years old at the time, which means he was about the same age as the “lost generation.” Yet when he left, a 40-year-old woman he had worked with wrote him the following letter:
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish you good luck, good health, happiness and success for your future. It has been a pleasure to know you and to work with you. You are a fine young man, and a credit to your family. In this day and age when the world is so topsy-turvy, and the youth of today seem to be so lost, it is like a breath of fresh air to meet a polite and respectful person like yourself. May God bless you always.”
Evidently George is different from many of today’s youths. He does not “seem to be so lost.” Why not? In a letter, he explained: “My parents, with the aid of the Bible, have steered me through life to become what I am now.”
Yes, George’s parents saw the need to “steer” him through the pitfalls of growing up. But why were they successful when so many other parents have failed? Because, as George said, they relied on “the aid of the Bible.” True, it is not fashionable to go to the Bible for guidance today. Yet here is a case where applying Bible counsel worked.
If you are a parent, would you like to know some of the things that George’s parents taught him as he grew up, that had such a good effect on him in his young manhood? Or if you are a teenager, why not consider some of these things yourself. They helped George to avoid the aimlessness and discontent that are common in the world today. They can help you in the same way.
The Best Start
For a start, George’s parents obviously recognized that bringing him up was their responsibility, not someone else’s. They knew that the following words in the Bible are addressed to no one else but parents: “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) And, of course, George was willing to accept the training his parents endeavored to provide.
The Bible likens young children to “arrows in the hand of a mighty man.” (Psalm 127:4) If an arrow is to be useful and effective in time of need, it must be skillfully prepared. To keep an arrow on target, feathers are placed at the opposite end from the point, and at a slight angle, so that the arrow will spin while in flight. Otherwise it will easily be deflected from flying straight to the target.
Similarly, unless young people are given a strong sense of direction, they will be easily deflected from a right course. This is seen in a survey of nearly 5,000 youths between the ages of 10 and 18 in 160 schools throughout England. Of the 10-year-olds, 71 percent thought that everyone should pray to God, while only 34 percent of the 18-year-olds did.
Why the difference between the younger and the older children? Evidently, as they grew up, the teenagers had been affected by the cynicism and skepticism of the world around them. Or perhaps they had asked questions that no one had been able to answer.
Something to Live For
Why had George not been adversely affected by that skepticism? He says that he learned from his parents the “wonderful ways and loving attributes” of Jehovah God. Hence, he felt a relationship with God, a sense of knowing him and being known by him. This gave George a sense of direction, a goal in life. And it helped him to maintain high moral standards.
But how does it help to have high moral standards and goals when the future is so uncertain and this whole system of things seems to be crumbling?
The deterioration of this system of things is no surprise to serious students of the Bible. They know that the Bible warns that in our days men would become “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection . . . ,” and so forth. And, of course, these are the very things that have made the world so unstable.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
However, the Bible assures us that God has noted man’s wrong conduct and will not let it continue indefinitely. Rather, he will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) But that will not be the end of everything. The Bible also promises a “new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
The ones governing in this new system will not be devious politicians or ruthless industrialists. Rather, we are promised: “Evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. . . . The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:9, 11.
Perhaps, on reading this, some might say: ‘It can never happen!’ Yet George believes it can. So do thousand like him. They are not credulous or gullible. No, like modern youths everywhere, they wanted proof before they believed things. And when they considered the proof that these promises are reliable, it seemed good enough for them.
We recommend that you do not reject these promises without checking into them for yourself. After all, what other hope is there for the future?
A Successful Life Now
Perhaps you can see why young people like George are so different from many others of today’s youth. They are normal young people, in the sense that they have to face the same pressures and difficulties that all other young people have to face as they grow up. But they have set before them a good future. They have a sense of direction, and, hence, they are not “lost.” In addition, because they believe in the Bible they have access to a remarkable source of guidance that helps them to avoid pitfalls and make their lives successful now.
For example, it often happens that young people, disgusted with this world, try to be different. Yet, when they do this, do they have anything better to offer? Is it not true that many young rebels are more immoral, more unbalanced, more violent or more selfish than the system they condemn?
True, the Bible encourages us to be different. It says: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things.” But then it shows us how we can do this successfully. “Be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Hence, a real Christian becomes different by trying to maintain higher standards than is usual in this world. He tries to live life as God says it should be lived, and in this way he is not corrupted by the world.
Again, Jesus said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) This is not the common attitude. Today people feel they should “look after number one.” But has that attitude brought happiness? Of course not. Hence, a Christian who follows the Bible’s counsel and acts unselfishly is showing the right way to act. Have you not noticed how ‘generosity begets generosity’? A generous person creates an atmosphere around himself that is pleasant to live in. He is also happy because he is cultivating qualities that God originally put in man.—Luke 6:38.
The Bible also counsels us to work hard, not to be lazy or to rely on others to feed us. (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:12) This is good for us. We were made to work, and there is satisfaction and joy in accomplishing things. (Ecclesiastes 2:24) Those who avoid work deteriorate morally and physically.
Similarly, we are warned not to make money our god. We have to make a living, but to make the gaining of money our first goal in life can have sad results. The Bible says: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Probably you have read of people who worked very hard in order to get very rich. Were they happy in doing so? Often, they sacrificed health, happiness, family and friends in pursuit of their goal.
No, God gives us more valuable things to work for. Wise people follow the counsel: “To work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:18, 19.
Does this make sense to you? Surely, the unprincipled way that things are done in this world does not make sense. But millions today are finding that a way of life based on serving God and our fellowman, and also based on a confident expectation of enjoying the good future God has set before us, is both successful and reasonable. It works.
At this point, if you are a parent, you may be feeling: ‘I am not qualified to give my children such a strong confidence in the future, and such a powerful set of principles to live with. I just do not know enough.’ Or teenagers may be wondering: ‘Where could I get that kind of information?’ Well, the basic information is in the Bible. But George’s parents were helped to get at that information by Jehovah’s Witnesses. These students of the Bible are willing to help all—young and old—to get the same knowledge and to see the practicalness of it for themselves.
Why not accept their help? Life does not have to be frustrating and without purpose. If you are young—or even not so young—why not follow the example of the thousands, who, like George, have given their lives a sense of direction. Enjoy a satisfying life now, and have confidence in a future that will work.
[Blurb on page 8]
Do not reject these promises before looking into them. After all, what other hope is there for the future?
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Unless young people have a strong sense of direction, they will be easily deflected from a right course
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Unfortunately, many young rebels today are more violent or more selfish than the system of things they condemn
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When they considered the proof that these promises are reliable, it seemed good enough for them