Our youth – Angels and saints!

SOMEONE has said youth is a potent force. How true it is.
That word ‘potent’ means strong, powerful, forceful, and intoxicating. In fact, a glance through recent history will tell you that many before us recognised and harnessed that tremendous power called Youth. Let’s look at some:

Communist Youth
In May 1907, a conference in Stuttgart, Germany convened to form the “International Union of Socialist Youth Organisations”. Their purpose primarily was educational – to feed the minds of these impressionable young people with the beliefs and ideologies of Communism and to prepare them to fight for the cause in the years ahead.
The movement died down after WW1, but the ideology was still alive. It was rebirthed some years later as Young Communist International. The movement has changed face along the line, but even today, many European countries still have communist youth movements. We’ve seen the effects of the communism movement especially in the countries that champion the cause, such as Russia, North Korea, China and Cuba. The indoctrinated youth will stop at nothing to see their cause succeed.

Hitler Youth Movement
In the late 1920s, another player soon emerged on the world scene. His name was Adolph Hitler and he presented himself as the saviour of the German people. Coming to power in 1933, he immediately made plans for war. He believed that the pure German Aryan race must dominate everyone else – blacks, disabled, Gypsies, Jews, etc. Therefore, he killed one million Gypsies, and six million Jews – out of which 1.5 million were children!
But among his great arsenal of power and the might of the Nazi movement, Hitler saw the importance of youth. So, he began the Hitler Youth Movement in late 1920s. Hitler believed that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. He demanded from the Youth these qualities:
“The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp’s steel.”
In 1933, Hitler’s Youth membership stood at 100,000. In 1936, the number shot up to four million. After 1939, it was made law that every young German had to join the Hitler Youth. No one could escape. The youths, aged between 10 to 18 years old, were indoctrinated and put through vigorous training and discipline, and taught to fight and die for Hitler’s cause. Hitler truly realised the importance of youth power.

PNG young people
But what about for us in PNG today? Our jails are full of our young people who have broken the law. They come from every province in PNG. Many of them have been used by adults to carry out their criminal activities. In high schools, we hear of inter-school fights and cult activities, and we see many kids growing up as reckless young men and women with no regard for authority. As a result, a group of youth congregating on a street corner can arouse suspicion. Many times, even before they have done anything, they are branded as trouble makers.

Challenging the image
But that stereotype is challenged by the many wonderful God-fearing young men and women who are willing to stand up and make a difference. These youths have the same temptations as their peers, but thankfully, they decide to do the right thing instead.
I will report on two of such groups of youth whom I came across over the past few months. One group was witnessed just before the first coronavirus lockdown; the other group was during the lockdown. Their acts of kindness will add some cheer to the dreary coronavirus season we are going through.

Gerehu Secondary School ‘angels’ at work, changing the tyre.

Gerehu Secondary angels
A week before the lockdown took place, a group of Gerehu Secondary School students were walking home after school along the university road, as they normally do. This time, at the university bus stop, a motorist had stopped due to a flat tyre.
The driver was a young mother with three small children. She didn’t know quite what to do. Just then, four Gerehu Secondary School boys stopped by to help. Soon, they jacked up the car, removed the flat tyre and replaced it with the new one. After expressing her appreciation to the boys, the thankful mother drove happily away!
Here is a school sometimes getting in the news for all the wrong reasons. This time, a group of boys did something honourable, pulling away from their friends and staying behind to help a lady in need. To her, these young men were like angels!

Flyover saints
A few weeks ago, at about 2pm, I was on my way back from visiting a friend when I got a flat tyre just near the Erima Flyover. This place is notorious for attacks on motorists, regardless of what time of day it is. To make it worse, I realised I had not got around to fixing my spare tyre after the lockdown came into effect, so I would need to fix that first.
I rang a couple of friends to help, but none was available. Just then a young man on a bicycle rode up to me. His two friends also ran across the road to help. He got one of the boys to escort me to the tyre service while the other boy would camp near the car until we got back. Somehow I had God’s peace in my heart that these were genuine young lads. I went along with the plan.
We arrived back from the tyre service and the boys helped me put the tyre on. As they did, their other friends ran across the road to ‘help’. That was when, unbeknownst to me, one of them grabbed my waist bag when I went to put the tyre away in the boot (I was silly to leave my window down with my bag on my seat). When I realised it was taken, I told the boys I wanted it back as my telephone and other things were in there. My two friends and their helpers dashed back across the road and chased the thief. They ‘negotiated’ with him and brought back my bag – minus the phone. But they managed to get my SIM card, which was more important. The phone was an old one so I didn’t mind.
I thanked my two friends profusely, gave them some cash, and encouraged them with the Word of God. I was grateful that in a place where holdups were rife, these two boys decided to be different. They made sure nothing happened to me until I drove off.

We have many good young people out there. They are a breath of fresh air in a world contaminated by evil. I pray that many more of these youth will arise and make themselves known, just like the Gerehu Secondary School angels and the Flyover saints did!

  • Rev Seik Pitoi is a freelance writer.

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