Sunday, January 16, 2011


I intended to write this blog-post last Tuesday, but I was overtaken by events: specifically, the deaths of 3 members of the parish, which cut short my time at the computer. There is still one funeral (on Monday, Martin Luther King Day), but I have a bit of a breather to put these thoughts down.
The news is encouraging in a recent USA Today feature: “Youths prefer praise to sex, booze. Study: Self-esteem takes precedence.” This study was also featured recently on Chicago’s WGN News at Nine.

Read the item for yourselves, but surely there can be no easier way to strengthen teens’ self-esteem than authentic (not fake) affirmation. In the long run, though, youths/teens are no different from the rest of humanity: we like to know (and be told) that we have done well, that we are good, that we make a meaningful and positive difference—in short, that we are valued and loved.

Our Savior is blessed with a remarkable youth group of teens who are generous, sensitive, loving and positive. I have no doubts they receive oceans of affirmation: from our youth minister, from me, and from their families. Sometimes our young people don’t feel good about themselves or approved by others (especially the significant other adults in their lives). But a hug or a compliment from the heart can go a long, long way toward undoing their doubts.

After all, what is the bottom line attraction of sex, drugs and alcohol? It’s in the first place to make a substitute for self-worth, and in the second place to anesthetize the feelings of worthlessness. If one knows one’s worth and knows that others approve of it, so many other things are simply not necessary…

We are coming near to Catholic Schools Week in the Archdiocese of Mobile. Let’s do the real education that teaches our teens their dignity and value. Especially when our young people are in fact so wonderful, we need to let them know it.

1 comment: