By Fr. Phillip Kembo
This article is meant to address young adults who are losing time, jobs, relationships, opportunities and everything due to Covid-19 pandemic. Life is not the same for the youth and young adult as their door to a better life remains shut as a result of many challenges compounded by unemployment and the deadly Covid-19.
I call it deadly because it has destroyed not only the lives of many people but, it has destroyed the wishes, the aspirations, and the future of many young adults. What they have been building and saving for years, has been brought to ashes in a matter of months. It is like that, young adults have been living a life of rehearsals, they are living, but not their real lives, because they have been put again at the starting point due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
I have realised that Covid-19 is a reality that needs to be confronted from all fronts. In Epistemology, a Philosophical discipline, when we mention that something is real, it means it is there with us. So it is with Covid-19 amidst the young people. Covid-19 and its effects is a reality in that it is truly existing amongst us and has placed huddles in the lives of so many young people today. It has become a barrier to many young adults who had invested so much in their professions and education, as well as projects. Coronavirus has completely shut the doors to opportunities and livelihoods for many young people who are forced to stay at home either because of lockdowns or unemployment as companies are closed due to the same predicament.
The effects of COVID are subjective in that, each person is feeling its impact as an individual although collectively we experience the same effects. My fear of Covid-19 is different from my friend’s experience of the disease. The same disease has impacted differently on us. Some have lost their jobs, others parents or close relatives, while others have lost important chances in life that might have been the only opportunity for them to turn around their situation. It is henceforth to be understood that, the effects of Covid-19 among young dreamers, is so subjective, because, what each one is going through, is felt by the individual himself or herself.
My dear friends, we are in the middle of a reality that costs our lives and our future, our hopes and potentialities.
As young adults, there is one hope left for us and in us, that we need more objective measures to approach the deadly effects of this pandemic which can take advantage of our subjective feelings towards it and wipe us away, not so much in our ignorance, but because we will have decided to die in silence as individuals. This is the time that we should come together and be objective while we look at our subjective opinions and come up with a way forward, as the Holy Father said, “we are in it together, so we should be through it together.” In one of his addresses, he also stated that, “no one should be left out.” It is critical for young adults to have a plan of action so that we do not dig own graves and die as a failed generation. Thus, Covid-19 is rather to us, a blessing, an opportunity to untie the buried Lazarus of our potentialities. We should say together with Jesus, Lazarus, Come out… Untie him. Coronavirus should not stop us from achieving our goals, our dreams even though we are locked down and clamped by movement restrictions.
1. FOLLOWING THE COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
This is one of the most important point of entry amongst the blessings, to follow the laid down regulations issued by the World Health Organisation. This is important because what we want and need in our plans, is to live. As young adults, we might have been found wanting in this regard, bringing in arguments and practices that endanger our very lives.
2. TO LEAD GOSPEL VALUE-BASED LIVES
Due to the depression that we are going through, for having lost our jobs or any financial generating project, we are at the cross-roads wondering which way to follow. When in depression, one can do anything, resorting to drugs or being alcoholic; borrowing money or end up selling the few assets to repay what you owe people; suicidal thoughts as a way of escaping responsibility or lying to cover up one’s real financial status.
This is the time when one needs to have a principled life, a sober mind and a focused life, based on the word of God and especially, on the resurrection of Jesus, that, there is life after “behind the closed tomb”. The story of the resurrection is the story of hope. So as young adults, what is needed is to be hopeful.
3. PARTICIPATION IN POLICY MAKING PROCESSES.
The political environment has plays a pivotal role in defining where we are today and where we shall be tomorrow. The failure to participate in what affects us as young people, has led us to where we are today. Sometimes we are careless not only with our votes, but we entrust our future lives, into the hands of ignorant people, who take the parliament as their sleeping bay. We prefer to be led rather than to lead and to be initiated rather than to initiate. Any young adult campaigning is booted out by other young adults like Arsenal, from the Premier Super League. Young people do not have confidence to lead in public offices and to represent their interests. Our failure in choosing those who represent us in policy making processes, is a clear indication that, in a crisis, any policy made, is fine with us. I call upon fellow young adults to participate in the policy making processes so that they represent themselves and their needs. Unless young people realise the need to stand up and defend themselves, calamities like Covid-19 will heavily impact on them because they lack copying mechanisms to sustain them during disasters. They will continue to depend on the powers that be instead of being innovative in shaping strategies that save communities from severe attacks of Covid-19 and other disasters.