Besides the knowledge in the textbook, the moral cultivation of people is also very important.
Fallowing from the perception of the connection of the universal agreement and disagreement and repugnancy of our idea about the term ‘youth,’ in relation to national prolificacy, this then triggers a deep sense of commitment and responsibility rooted on philosophical romanticization, first, to provide an acrobatic and coherent description of the concept “Competent Youths, as journeying together with National prolificacy; growth and development” which stands more suitably reflecting the theme “Strong Youths Makes A Strong Nation” as the referential end.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the term ‘youth’ means “the period between childhood and adult age.” Other common notion of the term ‘youth’ is that judged by appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc. With regards to the qualities found among the youths, Robert F. Kennedy stated, “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure of the life of ease.” But the question remains whether those qualities found with the youths really make strong youths that would determine the national strength? Or could there be some other considerable measures for ascertaining the reality and feasibility of such qualities and as such, merits the term ‘strong youths’ leading to strong nation. And with this in mind, the only thing that is found fit for measuring and reflecting which youths are strong is how competent the youths are in doing things. According to Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of the things, but their inward significance.” Whatsoever qualities found with the youths as a matter of biological and psychological dispositions have no justifiable reality to be termed strength (of the youths) worthy of determining national strength unless they are weighed by the competency with which the youths make things happen.
Let’s rather not be lost by recklessly following the mind’s faculty of compounding, transposing, or diminishing the materials afforded us by senses and experience and thereby assume that strong youths should be objectively termed so, than being practical in terms of how competent and capable youths appear in making a strong and prolific nation that endures.’ On the other hand, the term ‘Competent’ according to Oxford Dictionary, means ‘having enough skills or knowledge to do something well or to the necessary standard.’ This implies that competency should be the yardstick for measuring and determining which youth is strong or weak, ipso facto a strong nation.
The treasure of competency if found with the youths in a nation is compared to the vision and attainment of the reasonableness for the same of which the sun gives light to the universe. Whereas the strength of the sun doing what it should do is measured not by merely assuming the name ‘sun’ nor by merely suspending beneath or above the firmaments of the heaven but by its ability, capacity and competency of producing light, that is, a measure of its brightness. In the same vein, the strength of the youths doing what is expected of them responsively to their biological, psychological, and even academic endowment is measured not merely by bearing the name youths, nor by being plunged within the bracket thereof, but by their ability, capability, and competency with which they operate, being that all it takes to straighten and move the nation to the apogee is found therein. In a nutshell, competency of the youths stands better to evaluate the strength of the youth in a nation, and thereby ascertaining the national strength and prolificacy that endures.
The term ‘competency’ I argued, is expressed in two broad characteristics; external and internal. The external expression of competency include: Creativity (whereby the competent youths are expected to have the capability to recognize and pursue opportunities, which no one even the government can do for them); Innovation (such as youths are often exposed to news things, competent youths can pursue and make them available for the older and children and even for rest of the youths); Versatility (since the youths are still filled with vigour, the competent ones can be independent for a while and may try to engage in many things such as computer training, skill acquisition, online programs, writing, sports, etc); Motivation (competent youths are enthusiastic, optimistic, and future oriented, energetic, and as such believe they can be successful and are willing even to take risk); Vision (only the competent youths can have the ability to decide the direction towards which life should be better and plan to get there); Decisiveness (competent youths do not have room for procrastination, because this trait stalls progress and could lead to mismanagement of opportunities); Self Confidence (competent youths believe themselves and are confident and dedicated to their life pursuits); Adaptive (not just every other youths, the competent ones are able to change when necessary in order to deal with different situations provided that they succeed); and so on. On the other the hand, the internal expression of competency is what I regard as the virtue aspects which include: Fidelity (the quality of being faithful and royal, and it allows competent youths to persevere in living out an unswerving commitment); Docility (according to St. Thomas Aquinas, “docility is related to the virtue of prudence, and as such, it is that part of prudence that allows us to acquire knowledge through the teaching of another, just as the competent youths are ready to learn); Honesty (a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc, it also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere, and should be seen in the youths that are competent); Patriotic (as first foundation, love of one’s country, competent youths love their country and always think of what they can do to make it better, the land where their parents sleep); and so on.
These are what make competent youths that can foster a lasting national prolificacy and without which, the expectant strength of the youths, ipso facto the nation is just the opposite. It is true that in any stages of life in human person; childhood, youth or adulthood, one is expected to tend towards these qualities and as such becomes competent and strong, but the youths stand more chance of utilizing them due to the fact that their biological and psychological dispensations demand them to yield awesome results in the nation.
Both the external and internal characteristics expressing competency of the youths are complementary. For any of the external characteristics, say creativity, expressing competency of the youths for making a strong fruitful nation, there must be some corresponding internal characteristics, such as honesty, fidelity, etc. And it is conventionally known that the absence of the internal qualities in human person is termed “weakness” irrespective of how the external qualities are exhibited. It is now appropriate to establish that “the competent youths capable of making a prolific nation that endures are only those who are fit both externally (outwardly) and internally (inwardly), and being competent in activities, these are the youths that should be called strong youths, the hope for a nation’s strength and prolificacy that endures.”
Not to blow my own trumpet, there is need to give life examples on this subject to provide a credible appreciation of the notion of external and internal characteristics expressing the competency of the youths, a measure of their strength that can enhance the prolificacy and strength of the nation. The examples are of twofold one of which is based on personal life experience, and the other from the experience obtained from the life a close friend. First, after my secondary education in 2004, there was no money in the family for continuing my university academics since there was no tuition free in Nigerian education, my parents advised me to move into business as a servant to other business men and probably survive from there, a game of luck. That was a good idea but I already had a “Vision,” because I have earlier wanted to study Statistics. With enough “motivations” in my heart I decided to get involved in different areas of life (versatility) which include: teaching lower level students in a local school, establishing mobile business phone calls which I started with little amount of money, involving in hired manual labour both in National Petroleum pipeline sites and other areas, and any case, I was “adoptive” all those periods. After 15 to 18 months of those struggles, I have gathered a reasonable amount of money, then I continued my university academics and with that and other related engagements during long vacations, I obtain a degree in Statistics/Economic, University of Nigeria, 2011, though it was by the skin of my teeth. It is good also to say that I couldn’t have succeeded with my aspirations without being patient, and also “honest” to my employers (because sometimes I got a good advantage over others which my employers confirmed it was as a result of being honest on duty). These are what I call being competent, a show of being strong. Therefore, one could see that to be a strong youth is to be competent and to be competent involves expressing both external and internal characteristics. How does this lead to the growth of the nation? It follows that after my university academics in the face of high rate of unemployment in the country, Nigeria, having seen the incompatibility of going back to my former labour, I ventured into writing and researching both on academic and non academic basis, coming up with series of publications some of which are viewed for, and which has gained me many invitations for seminar presentations. This competency has contributed in handling some national challenges, and attends to my personal benefits and survival (instead of keeping waiting for the government). Second, a friend of mine narrated how their group planned to highjack and embezzle local government funds having been given the opportunity as vibrant youths to manage the local government for a while probably to curtail some misconduct. The nation (local government) would only but regret involving the youths in its affairs, what a disappointment. This is sign of incompetency (unpatriotic and dishonesty) that can crumble the growth and development of the nation. This group of youths is very intelligent and is educated, physically and psychologically strong (in disguise) as people may say, but lack competence, what a contradiction. To be strong is to be competent, and competency involves expressing the above external and internal characteristics in our activities. And it evidenced that most of the problems of backwardness, stagnancy, and unproductively in many nations especially in Africa is as a result of incompetency in administrations and management. It then means that the hope for a change is the youth, the leaders of tomorrow provided that they are armed to the teeth, tending towards competency.
It will be good to point that it is perceived to be in agreement that the national government has great responsibilities for the progress of the youth, and should not avoid doing what it stands best to enable the youths operate in a certain way and probably move the nation, but most of the problems we face are also because of youth. It is true that many youths have got energy, skill, hopes, and dreams and along with those qualities the determination and exuberance but they also lack proper and critical thinking, and as such remains incompetent. Thus youth which could have been the pioneer of some world-changing act may very well become world destroying terrorists. This is the sign of incompetency, a tendency for lack of strength that in turn weakens national growth and development.
Historically, the ancient Spartan youths who were known as one of the strongest youths among competing nations, and were trained as such, but because their so- called strength was devoid of competency, they became strong barbarians and turned the nation into awful barbarism, and with such barbarity, the strong nation of Sparta ran into extinction. The nation may had enjoyed the defensive strength of those youths, but since the youths lacked competence and vision, ability and capacity to sustain and further the progress of the nation, such strong manifestations and the subsequent enjoyment accrued to the nation are inconceivable.
This narrative supports that it is only competent youths with visions that can stimulate a lasting prolificacy of the nation, and as such, a measure of the youths’ strength. It then becomes rallying cry to seeking to enhance, ascertain, and evaluate the standard of youths in the nation with regards to how competent they are or that expected of them so that we can with a maximum likelihood, estimate the future lasting strength and fruition of the nation.
Presently, related to the above whereby the competency of the youths should be the measure of their strength for making a strong or a weak nation is the cases of unrest in some nations perpetuated by many so-called strong youths, educated though they are, but incompetent. Example of such nations where youths are the cause of the weakness of the nation is Nigeria. A case whereby some youths who even though involved in government and politics, and are educated yet turn against the nation with an evil ideology: “boko haram,” interpreted to mean that western education is evil. Anyone who experiences the operations of those youths will only but confirm they are really strong; physically, academically, and intellectually even to the extent of fabricating sophisticated weapons only to destroy and destabilize the nation. If such youthful strength is weighed with competency, one sees that it is simply but illusion. Strong youths must not be mentioned if we do not have in mind how competent such youths are.
Most of youths are the canker warm eating deep the root of the fabrics of the nation and yet claim to be light of the nation, though they are but that must be disclosed in competency. Government of some nations in Africa particularly Nigeria had put in considerable measure to boost the standard of education of the country in favour of the youths, the leaders of tomorrow, but most times, the same youths in question losing the sight of competency gear to turn the universities into the world of cultism. Notwithstanding, these youth cultists disrupt academic programs, vandalize the schools’ properties, and even intimidate and threaten the lecturers. What happens if eventually those youths are shifted to the larger society to serve the nation? This can only but worsen the era of political unrest, misconducts and the like.
The issue is, we may not have known that it is only competency that can define the strong youths as the hope of the nation. On the other hand, many times in Nigeria, National Electoral Commissions deployed youths for the conduct of national election hoping that in their physical and psychological dispositions they can help to make a better nation, but these youths (strong as they claim) are the objects of rigging election, they overpower the security personnel and the elders and snatch away the ballot boxes. What a weak youth in concert with a perpetual national dryness?
To be a strong youth is to be competent, that is the hope of the nation that endures. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation, is a living example. He had a revolutionary thought and he exercised his thought and as such, he has changed the world today! It can be argued that he could as well use such strength in the opposite direction and probably destroy a nation, and that counts as incompetence for him and as such, a weakness. The policies and development works of a nation can only be carried out by the competent youth. They carry out the policies and do all the development works which older people are incapable of actually carrying out but without the mind of being competent, it would be better for even the dead to take over.
Youth is not just the state of being physically powerful enough to do thing with full force. Youth is that phase of life where dreams that make life better are built and a bright future is foreseen. It is the age of dreams and discovery that enriches human person. These are the years to foster moral principles, make ones history, construct value system and begin an all-new journey on the path of the virtues and prestige. It is now common to say that nation’s strength is in its youth, but most times this turns out to be a disappointment to the nation whose youths are incapable of doing things well and as such, are incompetent.
National growth and development demand on youth’s will power, mighty determination and competence. Youth remains the greatest hope, wealth and strength of any nation, but if this is not seen in practice such judgments remain mere speculations. The future of a nation lies in the hands of youths and as such, in concert with it. But the nation should as well determine the best way of making its youth better, morally, intellectually, etc, targeting to raise the competent ones.
Therefore, if we want to ensure a bright future for our country, we first need to strengthen and empower our youth. They should not be left just as youths they are but should be directed in the way of being useful. If we can harness this powerhouse of the nation in the right direction then the country can reach untold heights and stand out measuring to other developed ones.
Education remains the best way of making our youths competent and should be of great concern. Education in the nation should as well be incorporated with ‘ethics’ in all the fields of leaning. Lack of ethical applications and approaches in doing things has succeeded turning things the other way. As a result of this, the supposedly strength of the youths for moving the nation most of the times turn to weaken it even though the youths are still acting in their physical strength as youths they are.
This incorporation of ethics in all fields of learning would guarantee to the maximum extent that our youths become morally competent and give out to the nation a lasting strength and prolificacy. Although most young people naturally grow up to adopt the morals and ethics of the society in which they live, education in no small way, plays an important role in shaping these behaviors. According to John Dewey, an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform, “education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.” This implies that all the values, characters, interest expected of the youths should be provided to them while in schools so that they can begin to abide by them on time and these they would bring out to the nation and foster its tranquility, fecundity and development. The importance of ethics education demands that we need to equip our students to be ethically inclined and act as ethical advocates in their future, families, and workplaces, inside and outside of academia. This is the hallmark of the competency we hoped for, and which is able of yielding a tremendous fruits to the nation.
In conclusion, following from the explanations so far, ‘competency’ is used to pick out the objects of the attitudes and the bearers of truth and falsify that defines the youths strong, otherwise, week. to be strong is to be competent manifested both externally and internally, and by means of which the prolificacy of the nation could be propelled. One would therefore expect that if there are competent youths, they would figure importantly in standard ways, attitudes and responsibilities worthy of making a nation fruitful.
My name is Akubue Anselem Emeka, a 3rd year student of philosophy following my first degree program in Statistics/Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsuka, 2011.
I hail from Akpakwume, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. I am a male, single.
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