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Pope: Dont Pretend To Be Teens; Help Youths See Blessings Of Adulthood

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Pope: Dont Pretend To Be Teens; Help Youths See Blessings Of Adulthood

ROME (CNS) — Instead of “pretending to be adolescents,” parents must help
young people see the blessing of growing into adulthood, Pope Francis told
priests, religious, catechists and parish council members from the Diocese of

The belief that youthfulness is a model of success “is one of the most
dangerous ‘unwitting’ menaces in the education of our adolescents” that
hinders their personal growth because “adults have taken their
place,” the pope said June 19, opening the Rome Diocese’s annual convention.

This “can increase a natural tendency young people have to isolate themselves
or to curb their process of growth” because they have no role models, the
pope said.

In his nearly 45-minute talk, Pope Francis reflected on the convention’s theme, “Do
not leave them alone! Accompanying parents in educating adolescent

The pope said the first step in reaching out to young people in Rome is to “speak
in the Roman dialect, that is, concretely” rather than in general or
abstract terms that do not speak to teens’ problems.

Families in big cities such as Rome face different problems than those in rural areas.
For this reason, the pope said, parents must educate their adolescent children
“within the context of a big city” and speak to them concretely with
“healthy and stimulating realism.”

Families, the pope continued, also must confront the challenge of educating their
children in an “uprooted society” where people are disconnecting from
their roots and feel no sense of belonging.

“An uprooted culture, an uprooted family is a family without a history and without
memory,” he said.

Although social networking has allowed more people to connect and feel part of a group,
its virtual nature can also create a certain alienation where people “feel
that they do not have roots, that they belong to no one,” the pope said.

“If we want our children to be formed and prepared for tomorrow, it is not just by
learning languages, for example, that they will succeed in doing so. They need
to connect, to know their roots. Only then can they fly high,” he said.

Departing from his prepared speech, Pope Francis said parents “should make room for
their children to speak with their grandparents,” who have the gift of
passing on “faith, history and belonging with wisdom.”

Often disregarded and cast aside, grandparents must be given the opportunity to
“give young people the sense of belonging that they need.”

Pope Francis said parents, catechists and pastors must understand that adolescence
is a challenging time in young people’s lives where “they are neither
children (and do not want to be treated as such) and are not adults (but want
to be treated as such, especially on the level of privileges.)”

He also said he was worried about the current trend in society to view adolescence as a
“pathology that must be fought” and that leads some parents to
“prematurely medicate our youths.”

“It seems that everything is solved by medicating or controlling everything with
the slogan ‘making the most of time’ and in the end, the young people’s
schedules are worse than that of a high-level executive,” he said.

Instead, schools, parishes and youth movements can take a pivotal role in helping young
men and women want to feel challenged so they can achieve their goals.

In this way, “they can discover that all the potential they have is a bridge, a
passage toward a vocation (in the broadest and most beautiful sense of the
word),” he said.

However, he warned parents about people
who may wield influence over their children, including aunts and uncles, and especially
those who “have no children or who are not married.”

“I learned my first bad words from a bachelor uncle,” the pope recalled.
“Aunts and uncles often don’t do good things to get their nephews and
nieces to like them. There was an uncle who would secretly give us
cigarettes… things of that sort. And now, I am not saying they are evil but
you must beware.”

Young people, Pope Francis added, need educators that help grow within them “the
life of the spirit of Jesus” and help them see that “to become
Christians requires courage and it is a beautiful thing.”

“I think it is important to live the education of children starting from the
perspective as a calling that the Lord has made to us as a family, to make this
step a step of growth, to learn to enjoy the life that he has given us,”
Pope Francis said.

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Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.


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