Since 1999, the United Nations has designated August 12 as International Youth Day—an annual event that draws attention to worldwide issues concerning the youth. And for this year, the theme is “Youth Engagement for Global Action,” a call for young ones to be involved in the relevant happenings of today’s world.
Pope Francis’ fondness for young people is no secret. “I like to speak with the youth, and I like to hear the youth,” he said during a July 31, 2019 press conference on a flight from Krakow to Rome.
“They always put me in difficulty. They tell me things that I haven’t thought of, or that I’ve partly thought of. The restless youth, the creative youth, I like them!” the Pope added. (Read: Three heartwarming films that inspire honesty among the youth)
As we celebrate International Youth Day today, we list three messages from Lolo Kiko that will inspire young ones to find their purpose and keep fighting for what they believe in.
“We must learn from the youth.”
Another message said during the July 31 press con, it pertains to how adults tend to dismiss what young people say as immature or irrelevant. (Read: How to Stay Youthful in Body and in Spirit)
Pope Francis encourages not only the youth but also the adults to bridge the generation gap by listening to one another. For the older ones, Lolo Kiko urges you to hear what young people have to say without judgment, and express your own opinion without trampling on theirs. For all you know, there might be wisdom—or in some cases, a cry for help—in what they have to say.
“We don’t need youth museums.”
A message from his visit to the University of Santo Tomas on January 18, 2015, Pope Francis said it in reference to how the young, tech-savvy generation, with their unlimited access to loads of information from the internet, is slowly becoming “museums of young people that have everything but without knowing what to do with them.” (Read: The most heartwarming moments from Lolo Kiko’s visit to the Philippines)
Knowledge is good, but too much of it can be useless, especially in situations that merit more important virtues like kindness, compassion, helpful deeds, and love. In other words, know when to lead with your head and know when to lead with your heart.
“Take risks, even if it means making mistakes.”
In Christus Vivit (Christ Lives)—his reflections on the 2018 Synod of Bishops—Pope Francis encouraged the youth to “take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anesthesized or approach the world like tourists. Make a ruckus!”
By ruckus, he doesn’t mean be reckless or irresponsible. Rather, he wants youth to speak up, try new things, get involved—and hopefully learn both the good and bad from them. (Read: Dear Young People: Pope’s Message to the Youth)
Grownups living in predictable and safe routine can also take his advice to heart. Life is about experiences, after all. So step out of your comfort zone and live! “Give yourself over to the best of life!” exhorted Pope Francis. “Open the door of the cage, go out and fly!”