Liv­ing life with a firm pur­pose and clear val­ues has be­come much harder for many

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

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.

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