Living life with a firm purpose and clear values has become much harder for many
The June 6 issue of The Enterprise published some troubling findings from a 2016 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stated that 30 percent of 2,000 St. Mary’s County public high school students who took the survey felt a level of sadness and hopelessness over a period of two or more weeks in the previous year that their daily routines were significantly impacted.
One in five contemplated suicide, and one in seven had put together a suicide plan during that time. Also noted was a marked increase in instances of cyberbullying.
The results suggest a society that increasingly fails to convey a sense of hope, joy and belonging to its younger generation. Our hyper-technologized world presents a bewildering array of possibilities, which ironically induces anxiety and alienation. Without concerted emotional, physical and spiritual mentoring for our youth, living life with firm values and clear purpose has become harder.
With a message of hope and love, communities of faith treasure their children as their present and their future. Such communities are instituted to instill in their people a commitment for building up the individual and the wider community according to the highest ideals.
The St. Mary’s County Interfaith Council expresses its concern about these alarming statistics. We encourage more families to get involved in a local faith community of their choice. Faith and purpose should also fortify each of us against any temptation to cut short voluntarily one’s own life journey, which at times can be arduous, but which is a preparation that can lead to the greatest happiness and fulfillment.
Open to both clergy and lay participation, the interfaith council meets on the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Lexington Park library. Through our monthly meetings, we offer a forum for sharing our stories, hearing from community leaders and serving together in a small way to better our world. We encourage pastors to designate a member of their congregation to join their voice to the council.
The Rev. David Beaubien, Leonardtown
The writer is pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Leonardtown, and a member of the St. Mary’s County Interfaith Council.