Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seeing Beyond the Manger

Meditating on the Christmas scene many thoughts can come to mind, such as the helplessness of a baby, which is the thought a Catholic Times columnist wants his readers to consider.  A baby needs the help of others; without it the baby will die.
God came to us as a helpless infant. He came in a way that needed our help to live. He says to us, "I need clothes that will cover me, milk from the breast to nourish me, the warmth of a loving family to comfort me, and the joyful gaze to welcome me." This is the way God-man expressed his trust in, and love of, humanity. He could then grow in mind, body and soul because of the concern he received.
However, there are many young persons that are not that fortunate. In Korea  the number one reason for deaths among those  15 to 24 is suicide. In 2010 those under 19 years old who killed themselves was 353.   Statistics show that 10 percent of our youth (based on those answering a questionnaire) have had thoughts of suicide. The columnist lets us know that they are crying out, "It's too cold here....I'm not welcomed.... I'm not necessary....There's nobody that shows any interest in me."

The reasons given for the suicides: grades and preparation for college (37.8 percent), family problems (12.6 percent), loneliness (11.2 percent), financial problems (10.5 percent) and so forth.  There is even the pressure to volunteer to be of service to others. Praise is given to those who know how to take care of their own needs first; society is full of praise for those who are capable of fending for themselves.
Consequently, we need to be more concerned for those who are hurting, caring for the whole person regardless of status in life. Although there are many in society ready to give help, this has to be made known to the young. They have to know their problems will be kept private  and that they will be respected for who they are. Secondly, efforts to change the environment both in the families and the school have to accompany the counseling. Thirdly, there should be in place proven ways of providing help to students who are having difficulty in thriving under the established methods of study. Fourthly, there has to be efforts made to find work for recent graduates, and counseling for those who are unable to find work.
The columnist, who works in the field of welfare under Catholic auspices, wants the Church to take a greater interest in this problem.  The aim of Catholic education: to educate the whole person should be the incentive for the Church to be a leader in helping our students who are finding it difficult to succeed. These thoughts, he tells us, should expand our insight as we look at the Christmas scene.

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