|Our Specific Characters as Youth Today|
Our Character as Young People Today
1. This is an interesting subject to reflect on because it is about us. It is about what we feel today, what we look for and what we live for. Therefore, we can involve ourselves deeply in this reflection.
2. As youth today we long for love, relationship and acceptance from our parents, friends, partners, our families and our children.
3. We are aware of the importance of socialisation and building friendship using modern technologies and communication facilities such as mobile, i-phones, internet, face book, twitter etc.
4. We are serious about life and want to live for some purpose and meaning.
5. We possess strong critical skills, having increased our knowledge through study and life experiences, and being led to think, reflect and judge. We are questioning young people, who want answers for what we see happening around us. We are committed youth who want and claim honesty, truthfulness, justice and consistency. We are demanding youth who want and claim our rights at our work and in the society.
6. At the same time, we also need fun and excitement in our lives. We enjoy music, dance, celebration and songs. We like to travel around different countries and explore different realities and cultures.
7. We live in a society where we see many contradictions. Our life also reflects these contradictions. Therefore, at times we are angry, feel useless, passive, aggressive, violent, depressed etc.
8. Therefore, as youth we possess noble, valuable and positive characteristics, as well as aggressive, violent and negative characteristics.
9. We consider the right to live and to work with dignity to be our fundamental aspiration. We dream of a good life, better education, vocational training, a permanent job, decent conditions of work and an income that allows us to satisfy our personal and family needs. We also dream of an autonomous life and the possibility of building a family.
10. We dream of a society that is free from injustice, exclusion, discrimination based on gender, class, caste, religion and other forms. We dream of a society where young workers and others are covered under social protection laws, policies and programs.
11. We believe that we should be given a voice and a place in national and community programmes and projects.
12. We cannot achieve fulfilment of our aspirations if there is no meaningful development, social progress and social protection and there will be no social progress and social protection without the development and empowerment of young workers.
13. For us as YCW women and men, “spirituality is a search to discover our identity as persons and what we live for”. We want to discover our essence, and what is at the heart of who we really are. It is this which gives a meaning or purpose to our existence. It is a sense of self respect and respect for others and for the whole of creation. Spirituality for us is more than religion. It is a way of life. It gives birth to the values that make us who we are.
14. We, as young workers, want to have a level of happiness in the work we do, combined with a great level of responsibility at the same time. We want our opinions, our inputs, our presence and our entire being appreciated when we do our work. When we realize that we possess worth, that we are cared for, heard and appreciated, then we begin to discover ourselves and the meaning of what we do in our work place and life.
15. We also find inspiration in religious and humanistic principles. We have different cultural and religious backgrounds. Many of us emphasise the importance of believing in God. Some of us emphasise the importance of praying and celebrating. Christian faith is particularly expressive among us. Jesus Christ is considered a fundamental reference. For many of us, the Bible, particularly some specific texts, are very inspiring. Some of us stress humanistic values founded on human dignity, human rights, and the rights of workers, as well as the values of equality among human beings free from gender, caste, racial and other forms of discrimination. Because of all these different orientations, we believe in ecumenism as a critical way of living our spirituality in community with each other.
Our Ideology and References
16. As young workers we believe in the following fundamental objectives of YCW: “that all young workers should discover the deepest meaning of their lives; live in accordance with their personal and collective dignity; assume responsibility for finding solutions to their situations at local, national and international levels.”
17. The Young Christian Workers movement is considerably significant for us. Through this organisation we have learned to develop friendship, to share our life experiences, to listen to each other, to analyse our problems, to be self-confident and to take personal and collective actions. The See-Judge-Act methodology developed by the YCW is a great pedagogical tool. We have developed our leadership skills making use of this methodology in different circumstances of our lives, particularly on reviewing our lives and actions. The Review of Life and Worker Action and Task of Education promoted by the YCW is our foremost educational instrument of formation. It leads us to a formation through action. The actions we take in YCW are also a source of motivation and reference for us.
18. Some of us use Biblical texts and social teachings of the Catholic Church and other major religions in our life and our actions. Some of us use the Declaration of Human Rights, the international labour laws and conventions, and the national labour laws as our references. Some of us use the texts from the Communist Manifesto and The Capital (by Karl Marx) as references to strengthen our identity as working class youth.
19. For many of us, Cardijn is one of the powerful human references for our life and action. We also use the life stories of our parents, brothers and sisters, former YCW leaders, personalities like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Aung San Suu Kyi, Bishop Romero, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Julius Nyerere etc. as important references.
20. At the same time we refer to the history of workers’ struggles, the working class movement, youth movements, peasant movements, feminist movements, socialist movements, the Dalit liberation movement, anti- apartheid movements, aboriginal cultural movements, ecology and environmental movements etc. as our references.
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