Much of the selfish aggressiveness of young people today arises out of insecurity. Rapid changes in Maltese society have in many cases produced injustice; this has created a lack of self-confidence, causing humiliation before parents and family. Human beings are by nature dynamic and creative and if encouraged are less likely to make mistakes.

Parents and other grown-ups are inclined to put the blame on children rather than on themselves. Young people who search for others to admire and to identify with, often fail to achieve their aims.

The insecurity we have in Malta makes youths afraid of life and the problems involved. Many treat young people as objects to be used, as a means of production and numbers on a list to further their own purposes.

They blame them for anything that goes wrong without giving them the chance to do well and make no attempt to discover the roots of their insecurity and aggressiveness.

There are even people who are becoming rich through pandering to the weakness of the young by dealing in porno-graphy, sex and especially drugs. These evils are widespread throughout Europe today. Even in Malta, we have pushers, some of whom, use blackmail and threats to get their young customers addicted.

This problem worries everyone, State and Church, parents and schools, doctors and even the law. Parents are basing their treatment for their children on the dictates of the heart rather than the head, forgetting that in the upbringing of a child, discipline is as important as food and clothes. They must be taught to control themselves and to develop their willpower along the right lines.

Today’s youths cannot be relaxed, happy or content. They are fed up with life. In society, they see division, hatred and glaring contrasts.

Our most urgent efforts are needed to counterattack these evils by admitting to ourselves that basically we are at fault.

We must unite in our struggle to show love and understanding.

Every human being has certain needs: to love and be loved, to have motivation and purpose, to have the feeling of security.

Many young people these days do not have these essential assurances. They feel unstable and their growth has no continuity. They are unable to be themselves either in the family or at school among their friends.

Every human being has certain needs: to love and to be loved

They do not have the time or space for proper development and they are obliged by the pressure of the peer group to lose their identity. Young people by nature live in a world of fantasy and imagination in which only a sense of sacrifice makes it possible to face reality.

They cannot cope with situations and problems, especially those involving others whom they love and admire. They tend to seek the easy way out and escape from the truth.

Unfortunately, older people all too often look on drug addicts as a burden and a menace to society – and in a sense they are. They are the present-day lepers who are best kept out of sight and with whom contact is to be avoided.

What is remarked about them is that they are just layabouts, often unkept and unwashed, sometimes with disagreeable habits. We condemn their pilfering, their petty thieving and at times, unfortunately, their violent aggression in search of money to buy themselves the next “fix”.

 And with each intake of the drug after an all too brief look into “dreamland”, they take a further step lower into their hell.

If a child is born with psychological defect which makes him unable to stand on his own two feet and to combat the temptation of drugs, he is an undesirable component of society, the dregs of humanity. 

Of course the behaviour of addicts often degenerates to a degree when it becomes undesirable and sometimes downright offensive and unacceptable. Obviously such behaviour should not be condoned.

Every effort should be made from the early stages to give the child the moral strength and defence mechanism to withstand the temptation of drugs. This is only one aspect of a very complex problem but one which is not stressed enough, if at all.

But on the principle that “prevention is better than cure”, possibly more stress should be made than at present on how best to recognise at an early stage the latent deficiencies in the child that make him a probable victim, and how best to fight such deficiencies and to bolster up the child’s strength to enable him to stand up better to the temptation of drugs as an easy way out of the competitiveness of finding and keeping a job and the pressures which present-day society bring to the young.

I would like to finish my words, with a quotation of last synod of bishops to the young (N.67):

“The young, like everyone else, also carry wounds. There are the wounds of the defeats they have suffered, frustrated desires, experiences of discrimination and injustice, of not feeling loved or recognised.

“There are physical and psychological wounds. Christ, who consented to endure his passion and death, comes close, through his cross, to all suffering young people. Then there are moral wounds, the weight of one’s errors, the sense of guilt for having made mistakes.

“Today more than ever, to be reconciled with one’s wounds is a necessary condition for a good life. The Church is called to support all the young in their trials and to promote whatever pastoral action may be needed.”

This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece