If the church is to minister to them n a God-honoring way, then the church needs to have a right understanding of the various crises they are struggling with. This work, therefore, seeks to point out and explain the various crises that Zimmermann youths are struggling with. Knowledge of these crises will enable the church to discern implications for relevantly ministering to the major needs of Zimmermann youths. We shall start by seeking to understand the youth stage, before exploring the various major youth crises in Zanzibar.
Only major ones will be discussed in this paper, due to the limitation of space and time. The ones to be covered are loneliness, peer reassure, sex issues, smoking, alcohol, drugs, abuse, and self-esteem. Let us start by seeking to understand what the youths are going through by defining adolescence. 2. Adolescence: a crises stage Youth is a crisis stage. It is one of the most delicate stages of human development. Youth stage is also called adolescence, which is a stage of human development in which one is in the process of developing from a child to an adult.
Sheriff and Sheriff (2009:1) define adolescence, as the transition period between puberty (boyhood or girlhood) and adult stages of development. ” This is true. It is this very aspect of changing from childhood to adulthood which inevitably brings with it a lot of problems to naive adolescents. Parsons (1987:7) says, “Marked as a period of uncertainty, tension and rapid change, adolescence is a time of confusion and turmoil for both adolescents and for all those of significance to them – a point more than highlighted by their own voices. In other words, this developmental stage brings with it problems not only for the struggling adolescents, but also for those under whose care the adolescents are. The adolescents struggle with coping with a roller coaster of feelings that hey suddenly begin to experience. The parents and the church on the other hand, struggle with knowing how to help these struggling adolescents in a God honoring way. Adolescents, begin to struggle with the question of self-identity, “who am l,” because they have been suddenly hit by a broad spectrum of physical, emotional, and psychological changes.
Adolescents or youth, inevitably find themselves with an identity crisis, which needs to be managed with a high degree of sensitivity and care. The reason being that, if not well managed, a lack of a sense of identity will lead adolescents to being tossed to and fro by the susceptible influences of others and prone to stress, which will often manifest itself in destructive behavior. This is the reason why I refer to the youth stage as a crisis stage, since it is a time of intense difficulty and danger for both the youth and the parents.
Having explained that adolescence is a crises stage, it will be easy for us to understand the various youth crises in Zanzibar. 3. Various youth crises in Zanzibar In brief, various major youth crises that we will look at are loneliness, peer pressure, sex issues, smoking, alcohol, drugs, self-esteem, and abuse. Let us start by looking at loneliness. . 1. Loneliness One of the major crises that Zimmermann youths struggle with is loneliness. According Collins in McDowell and Hosteller (1996:23), “It has been reported that of all people in our nation, the adolescent has the most problems with loneliness. I strongly believe that Collision’s observation that adolescents highly struggle with loneliness, sounds Zimmermann in every sense because the major problems of adolescence are universal. Adolescents really grapple with loneliness, hence some of them end up resorting to smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs, as remedies for loneliness. In concordance with Collins’ observation, Witchcraft (1996:21) says, “If there is one word other than lost to describe young people today, it would be the word lonely. They are desperately lonely people. ” This is true.
What contributes to their loneliness is the disconnection they have with the adults or parents, who demonstrate ignorance of the struggles of adolescence by not providing struggling adolescents with relevant emotional, psychological, and spiritual support. As a result, loneliness becomes an inevitable option for such adolescents. As Parrot Ill (1993:22) puts it, “Many adolescents cope with their difficulties by keeping them to themselves. Like Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes, these adolescents camouflage their struggles, hoping they will eventually disappear. This is an inappropriate and regrettable way of responding which truly reflects the naivety of these young folks. As a result, they close themselves in and remain, lonely, troubled, mistrusting adults around them and lacking emotional support to model appropriate behavior. Consequently, they resort to peers and look for idols to imitate from television and internet, thus making themselves susceptible to peer influence. This naturally leads us to look at another major crisis that Zimmermann out face, which is peer pressure. 3. 2.
Peer pressure Influence of members of one’s group is another crisis for youth. Youth’s need for self-identity and efforts to escape loneliness, make them susceptible to peer pressure. As a result, their behaviors, values, and attitudes, and actions, end up being heavily influenced by their peers. As Parrot Ill (1993:218) puts it, “Young people change their speech, clothing, behavior, thinking, and even values to fit with their cohorts. ” This is a very helpful observation because whatever youths do is heavily influenced by their friends.
For example, if their friends use certain informal language to communicate among themselves, they will learn that particular language and use it to fit in with their cohorts. If their friends, are disrespectful, youths fit in and end up being disrespectful, just like their friends. May be, this is due to the fact that they spend most of their time with their friends. Laurent (1988:81) says, “Because teenagers spend so much time outside the home with their friends, it is understandable that peers often have a greater influence on adolescent attitudes, speech, appearance, and behavior than the family has. Agree with Laureates observation because influence happens tit time. For example, if you spend time listening to a certain kind of music, it will end up getting into your subconscious mind such that you will find yourself singing it without knowing it. The same principle applies even in relationships, particularly with youths. They influence each other by spending time together. The danger with peer pressure is that, in the majority of cases, they influence each other in a negative way that results in immoral behavior and actions.
The other aspect is the fact that, in most cases, youths do certain things that their friends do, in order to receive approval and acceptance from their friends. Even Spots and Everyman (1987:27) allude to this by saying, “they turn to peers to find acceptance and approval. ” They can do almost anything that pleases their cohorts as long as that will make them to be accepted and loved by their friends. This is even worse to a troubled youth because he or she will do almost anything to find acceptance and love.
A troubled youth can even get involved in sexual activities, just to find love and acceptance. This shows us that negative peer pressure can lead youths to be involved in sex issues, which is another major youth crisis in Zanzibar. 3. 3. Sex Issues Sex-related issues such as premarital sex, sexually transmitted infections (Sty’s), AIDS, youth premarital pregnancies, and abortion, are major crises for Zimmermann youth. All of this suggests that the majority of Zimmermann youths are hyper-sexually active, and actually indulge in premarital sex.
As Mi Kim teal (2001:1) point out, “In Zanzibar, where 38% of the population is aged 10-24, the average age at first intercourse is 18 for both men and women, but many begin sexual experimentation far earlier. ” This substantiates the fact that youths in Zanzibar, as much as in other places of the world, actually indulge in premarital ex. I am convinced that, this is mainly due to the identity crisis that comes with adolescence, in which they see themselves as people with capacity while they are still young and naive.
However, I am also conscious of the fact that, others among them indulge in various forms of sexual activities under the influence of negative peer pressure, alcohol, and drugs. According to Laurent (1988:80), “Research shows that by the twelfth grade, sixty-two percent of today’s churched teens have been sexually involved. ” This is another helpful perspective because it shows us that the premarital sex among youths is not only for circular youths. It shows us that the majority of senior High school youths who are members of the church, have indulged in premarital sex.
While this is true, we cannot deny the fact that other contributing factors to this sex-related crisis to Zimmermann youths are smoking, alcohol, and drugs, which are a set of crises on their own. 3. 4. Smoking, alcohol, and drugs Smoking, alcohol, and drugs are other youth crises in Zanzibar that are caused by negative peer pressure, just like the crisis of premarital sex we discussed in the previous subsection. Laurent (1988:81) says, “Although premarital sex has higher visibility than other teenage social problems, smoking, drinking, and the use of drugs are becoming more characteristic of today’s youth culture.
These harmful activities usually begin as peer group experiences. ” There are two important points that are being made in this observation. One of those important points is the idea that premarital sex is a more obvious crisis among youths. I agree with this idea. However, I think what makes it more obvious than other crises, are problems that arise as a result of it, such as sexually transmitted infections (SST Is), AIDS, youth premarital pregnancies, and abortion. The second important point in Laureates observation is the idea that the major cause of all these various youth crises is peer pressure.
I agree with this because we have already seen how harmful negative peer pressure is to youths. The third succinct idea, though not so important is the idea that youth culture is gradually changing, and as it changes, smoking, alcohol, and drugs are becoming more common among youths than before. I think the negative influence of television and internet also contributes to this change in youth culture where by alcohol, drugs, and smoking become more and more common than before. Youths are heavily influenced by their heroes they watch on internet and television, most of whom are alcoholics, drug addicts, and chain-smokers.
Since youths are hero worshipers who imitate the people they admire, they end up smoking, drinking, and taking drugs just like their heroes. However, others indulge in these particular youth crises because they have either been abused or are being abused and some indulge because of low self-esteem. 3. 5. Abuse and self-esteem Other major youth crises in Zanzibar are abuse and self-esteem. Abuse is cruel and violent treatment or sexual assault. Following this definition I have owned, when one says someone has been abused, they will be implying that the victim has either been treated with cruelty or violence, or has been assaulted sexually.
Parrot Ill (1993:47) observes that, “A horrifying number of adolescents are abused- physically, sexually, or emotionally – by their parents, stepparents, relatives, friends of the family, or others. ” This is true particularly in the Zimmermann context. News headlines of various Zimmermann newspapers are sufficient evidence for this fact. Youths are victims of all forms of abuse. According to McDowell and Hosteller (1996:349), “More than one out of three dull women and one in seven adult men have been sexually abused before the age of eighteen. This is a horrifying observation because it shows us that a third of youth girls from eighteen years and below has been sexually abused. This means they have already lost their virginity, which is the most precious gift they could ever give to their husbands on the wedding night or after. Again, it is sad to note that fourteen percent of youth boys from eighteen and below, have been sexually abused. Abuse is a crisis that greatly affects the victims’ self-esteem for the rest of their lives, which is another crises on its own. Sexual abuse is even worse in terms of lowering one’s self esteem than all.
No wonder why Witchcraft (1996:25) says, “… Most young people today feel like paper plates, and they are throwing themselves away. ” Their self-esteem is too low because of abuse. When they take a subjective evaluation of their self-worth, they see themselves as used toilet paper. I am strongly of the conviction that the greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose. In light of my conviction, youths who are victims of sexual abuse see no purpose for living, since their purpose for vying has been cruelly distracted; hence they throw themselves away sexually, chemically, and alcoholically.