THE other day, a very accomplished businessman talked to me about preparing the students of CITE to be future-ready. I was intrigued by that expression, though I immediately got what he meant. And a thought started to stir my mind.
Indeed, we have to prepare the young ones for the many exciting developments, challenges and opportunities that we can expect in the future. At the rate things are going now, the future should be very exciting! Thanks to God, we already have a good glimpse of how things will be a few years from now.
We need to equip the young ones with the proper training and the relevant skills which should not be in the technical level alone. At the moment, we can expect the future to be more complex, requiring a greater maturity in the people, greater grasp of interdisciplinary sciences, etc.
It's amazing that many of the youngsters, especially those coming from the low-income families, actually carry a heavy baggage of problems, emotional, psychological, social. They appear to be victims of all kinds of unresolved problems in the family and society in general.
Many find it hard, for example, to relate with others in a meaningful and stable way. They tend to revolve around the superficial level. It's quite obvious that many do not have the basic virtues of hope and patience, fortitude and prudence, temperance and order. It's indeed a tall order to tackle all these challenges, given the limited time we can spend with them.
But these issues just have to be faced. They need to be resolved properly because these will just clamp these young people down in their pursuit for a successful and happy life. These youngsters really need to be accompanied and mentored, their talents and potentials identified and developed. They need to be stably motivated, until they can become self-propelled.
It's very moving to note that many of these students actually have great hidden talents that need to be developed. They are actually a rich ore that need to be refined and polished. But they often have very low self-esteem precisely because of the load of problems they carry. This is where the concern for motivating them has to begin.
That is why I often tell them to strengthen their belief in God as the common father of all of us, irrespective of whether one is rich or poor. Once they get it, then they can start discovering the many other wonderful truths about themselves that are useful for their own development. They would know which things to pay attention to and which to ignore.
They would know what is of absolute value and what only has relative value. They would have a more global picture of life in general, aware always of the ever-abiding providence of God. This would inject in them a lot of optimism in spite of the difficulties, challenges and possible mistakes of the present.
In this regard, it is important that these youngsters know how to pray, how to strengthen their faith, hope and charity, how to relate everything in their earthly life to the ultimate eternal life. They have to be eternity-ready, not just future-ready, with the figurative go-bag always by their side.
This is not going to be an easy job. But it can be done. In fact, it has to be done, no matter what the cost!*
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