‘How can we give hope to young people’ - Reverend Steve Jones latest column

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 October 2020

Pensive lonely young woman tourist sitting on beach hugging her knees and looking into the distance with hope

Pensive lonely young woman tourist sitting on beach hugging her knees and looking into the distance with hope

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In his latest column, Reverend Steve Jones talks bout how we can give hope to young people in Exmouth

Reverend Steve Jones. Picture: Steve JonesReverend Steve Jones. Picture: Steve Jones

There are two emotions that I think can act like viruses: anxiety and hope.

By acting like viruses, I mean that if one person in a group catches anxiety or hope, then others can soon follow.

In my own experience as a former police office dealing with people in crisis situations, anxiety can be slower to spread than hope, but it is more pervasive and harder to shake when it has a hold.

Hope on the other hand, while it can vanish in a moment like a mist, when it does catch hold, spreads like wildfire.

People do not generally desire to be anxious, but they are desperate for hope.

And in some of the young people in our community during in these past months I have certainly sensed evident anxiety and not found a great deal of hope.

Hope is so important for human wellbeing.

In the Bible it is written that ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’, which I think is so true.

We all need to believe that tomorrow may be a better day.

And the reality for many of our young people is that, due to coronavirus, their hope has been deferred.

Hope of getting the grades that they need in their GCSEs and A-levels, hope that they will get into the university or college that really inspires them, and hope that they will be able to find a job that will be satisfying and which will allow them to provide adequately for themselves.

So, I would like to issue an invitation today to all of us in Exmouth who have reached some level of stability in our working lives, to think carefully about how we might offer hope to our young people.

It might just be enough offering real praise and genuine encouragement to a young person we encounter who does something really well.

It could be offering positive and optimistic words about the future, to inspire and encourage.

It could be offering to sponsor or run online training programmes that teenagers seem interested in.

If you are a business owner or professional you might, perhaps think of ways, when it is safe to do so, of offering more work experience placements than you ever have before.

What I know is that hope is infectious. Let’s start spreading some!

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