Fr. Roy Cimagala
If we are to be effective in facing the many challenges and opportu-nities today and in the future, we need to hone our skills at making plans and strategies, both of the short-run and the long-run types.
Especially for the youth of today, this skill is very necessary. We have to help them in develo-ping this skill. We have to rescue them from the state of being just at the mercy of circumstances. They have to be taught how to shape their life by having a clear vision of their goals and means, and instilling in them a sense of direction and purpose.
Sad to say, many times we allow ourselves to drift away and to be carried away by external forces in our environment, leaving us completely at their mercy. We obviously are conditioned by certain elements, both inside and outside us, but we are meant to direct our own lives too, since we are the captains of our own ships.
We need to talk more about this matter, since it is often taken for granted, thinking that the young people would just learn to plan their life one way or another, sooner or later. This may be true to a certain extent, but it certainly is more proper if a deliberate effort be made to teach them to plan and strategize.
This may require a lot of patience and self-discipline, and the learning curve may be very slow at the beginning. But then again if we persist, there is no other way but to succeed. And hopefully we will see in the next generations, youth who are more adept at making good plans and strategies for their life in general and for their daily affairs.
Of course, the most important goal of the plans and strategies is how to relate everything to God. This should be made clear from the start. We have to continually give the youth the reasons and motivations, so that they can be sustained in developing and living this skill.
And then we have to give them concrete ideas as to how to make a practicable plan and strategy. These should involve the whole idea of developing the virtue of order and inculcating the proper sense of priorities. Of course, the inputs of our Christian faith that shows us how things ought to be, are necessary.
We need to look into their attitudes, practices and habits, and see which ones would reinforce this effort and which would hinder it. We have to teach them how to make plans and strategies that are realistic and are organic in the context of their personal circumstances. They have to be plans and strategies that know how to flex with the changing circumstances.
Development has to go through stages arranged in some kind of an inclined plane. In the beginning, they always need to be spoon-fed first. They have to be asked to make some kind of daily schedule, defining their priorities, identifying their needs and resources they can avail of, etc.
Obviously, when dealing with kids, we start with the most elementary and immediate needs that are not, of course, the most important and basic. They need to be directly supervised from always to occasional.
But there has to be a gradual process of letting them get involved into more and bigger responsibilities—their studies, the use of money and other resources, then the development of virtues like order, prudence, temperance, fortitude, etc. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City, Email: roycimagala@ gmail.com