Introduction: The Core Values of a Potential Youth is the central theme of this discussion. The term core is the part of something that is central to its existence or character. Core values are the root beliefs that a person or organization operates from. They are the principle perspectives that guide a person or organization’s behavior with others. However, In the process of building an enabling, viable and prosperous environment, youth need to be path. This is because youth are the bedrock of any viable society. The role of youth in decision making cannot be over-emphasized, thus, no nation can developed beyond the quality of youth it produce nor parade as case may be. Any nation that denies its youth the necessary enabling environment in the process of building a solid society does so at its own risk. Any nation that is energies, resourcefulness, creativity and maintain good orientation achieved all this as a total commitment of its youth toward the above measure.
Leadership comes to the fore in societies where men search for comfort, justice and harmony. As men willingly enter into communal living, giving up solitary existence, it becomes important to note that man’s life has meaning only in relationship and this meaning can only be attained through the activity of people who share the same vision (Enemuo & Nzulumike; 2009). Youths need to be morally disposed rightly in order to develop themselves first and then society. Without this, leadership becomes futile as it is intricately linked with goal attainment and these goals can be achieved by the whole of society and not a part.
WHAT ARE CORE VALUES?
The term core is the part of something that is central to its existence or character. However, in an ever-changing world, core values are constant. Core values are the root beliefs that a person or organization operates from. They are the principle perspectives that guide a person or organization’s behavior with others. Core values are not about how fair you are at work, who you get along with at work, or whether you show up to your job on time. These aren’t personality traits, either, which is often how we think about them.
More importantly, though, is understanding why you want them in the first place. Once you know why you want them, it’s easier to start crafting. Core values are useful for understanding yourself, though they are not an exercise in navel-gazing. When your core values are developed well and can clearly represent you, people will be drawn to you, not just because you have some nifty phraseology in your pocket but because you’ll look like someone who’s grounded in self-understanding.
Potential refers to latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
The Concept of Youth
Youth, broadly defined as persons between the ages of 15-35 by the African Union, constitute one-third of the population in Africa. Roughly half of the populations of Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Kenya are youth. The ten countries in the world with the biggest youth populations are in Africa.
Youths are the engine room of societies. They are the drivers of any developmental trend and activity in society and major determinants of the extent of growth and development in any given society. Youths are usually very energetic and are always willing to go the extra mile if need be to achieve what they believe in and hold on to. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2010) defines youth as “the time of life when a person is young especially the time before a child becomes an adult”. Olujide (2008) quoting the National Youth Development
Plan of 2001 defines youth as “young persons of ages 18-35 years who are citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Other groups‟ state different age brackets to embrace a person identified as a youth. The United Nations General Assembly identifies a youth within the age bracket of 18-34 years; the Commonwealth Youth Programme pegs the age bracket at 15-29 years.
Youths are usually referred to as young persons but judging from the above age brackets, specific ages cannot be given for a person to be identified as a youth. This can be better explained using the National Youth Service Corps (N.Y.S.C) Scheme as an example. This scheme establishes the statement that to qualify for the scheme, the participating youth must not be more than thirty years of age. The contradicting age brackets of youths as cited above cannot therefore make age alone a reliable factor in determining who a youth is. That is why in line with Mabogunje and Obasanjo (1990) in Oyebamiji (2008), youths will be identified as young persons who manifest the following behavioural characteristics:
- A strong desire to move up the ladder;
- A tendency to be idealistic as a result of the values passed into them at earlier ages by role models in the society;
- An eagerness to live to this role models and
- Frequent frustrations and anxiety as this idealism confronts the cold realism of daily existence.
In addition, youths are very energetic, excessively ambitious young persons who desire to change things or situations overnight; as quickly as possible and in the shortest possible time frame. Having these characteristics, young persons can be helped by present day leaders to reduce to the barest minimum their frustrations and anxiety in society by putting relevant measures in place to motivate them and also positively harness their strength and vigor for positive change and development in society. One of the behavioural characteristics stated above is that of a tendency to be idealistic. Youths are actually very idealistic as they are taught right from childhood to value “unchanging” ideals such as justice, fairness and equality; brought up in a culture that promotes ideals and “idea of permanence”. These ideals are taught them in form of moral values which they learn as they grow up.
THE CORE VALUES OF A POTENTIAL YOUTH
This quality can be defined as being honest. Honesty implies being frank, direct, open or even straight. It entails standing up for what you believe in no matter whose pride gets in the way. It means not contradicting oneself in thoughts, words and actions. Isichei and Bolaji (2010) define honesty as “the awareness of what is right and appropriate in one’s role, one’s behavior and one’s relationship”. Honesty is the foundation of integrity; having moral standards. Traditional societies were founded on this value and truthfulness was a quality pursued by all especially by leaders who were looked up to for direction by followers. Leaders valued truthfulness because they believed in protecting their names and reputation. They cherished the saying of
Proverbs 22:1- “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favor rather than silver or gold”.
They lived in line with this saying even when they had not read the bible.
Respect is an acknowledgement of the inherent worth and innate rights of the individual and collectivity (Isichei and Bolaji; 2010). The value of respect was cherished in the past, especially respect for elders. This is because it was assumed that elders were more knowledgeable and wiser than young persons. Respect was also given to elders as they comported themselves in manners worthy of emulation. Respect comes with honour and dignity as the individual or group of individuals are regarded as important personalities in their own rights.
- Tolerance and Cooperation
The Bible asks a salient question in Amos 3: 3; Can two people work together if they do not agree? The most logical answer is No. This is because one person will always drawback the other. For persons to work together to accomplish set objectives, they must learn to appreciate their differences, accommodate their weaknesses and pull together their strengths. Tolerance means being receptive to the beauty of differences while cooperation is simply identified as team work. Tolerance involves mutual understanding resulting from mutual respect while cooperation involves mutually beneficial relations. Traditional societies were tolerant and extremely cooperative, they appreciated diversity in nature and realized that though they were different, they had to work together to promote human life and existence.
- Hard work and Functionalism
Traditional societies cherished the virtues of hard work and functionalism. Everything these societies did was geared towards inculcating these values in the younger generations. Traditional African education was very functional in its approach as it comprised basic education for living in conformity with the traditions of the community; education for occupation and economic self-reliance for equipping members with appropriate skills for survival and education for special occupation with regards to particular families -family crafts, medicine etc (Kosemani&Okorosaye-Orubite 1995).
Traditional societies did not support laziness and as such did not encourage it. Individuals had to learn to value hard work as a channel for an improved life. Members were encouraged to be functional by contributing wholly to the proliferation of their societies. Societies encouraged members of the society who were committed to these values by rewarding them in various ways especially with leadership positions.
5. Respect for human life and Dignity of persons
Human life has always been sacred or sacrosanct. Life has always been important and the dignity of persons has been pursued because the origin of life has been linked with “gods” or “deities”. Human belief in the ultimate power of “immortal gods” has caused men to have great respect for human life and regard persons with dignity. Traditional societies promoted the security of life because of their beliefs in its sacredness. Before life was taken, it had to be a necessary sacrifice after a series of interventions of the people for adequate cleansing.
Traditional societies as already stated were very simple societies. They believed in character development and functionalism of members and they pursued this cause with utmost sincerity. Most of their determination to pursue just causes arose from their religious beliefs in the supremacy of their “gods” and the punishment(s) that could arise as a result of their disobedience of these “gods”. In the words of Kosemani and Okorosaye- Orubite (1995) again, “the yard stick for measuring an educated man is his morals, manners, obedience to authority and respect for the customs, conventions, superstitions and laws of the land”.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Without youths, there can be no sustenance of society as no society can be self-sustaining without its human components of which the major workforce is the youths. Realizing this, young people ought to know their importance and worth in society and begin to value themselves as purveyors of the fortune and progress of any society. Youths must be committed to imbibing moral values and upholding them through life as these values will shape the ways they think, speak and even act.
- The family which is the base structure of every society must begin to right their wrongs with regards to restructuring their value systems because most youths learn from the elders in their families and if truly there has to be a positive change in society, the family must play its role as the major primary agent of socialization in the society.
- Government and other authorities especially in leadership positions must see themselves as role models for young persons and begin to be responsible adults. They have to realize that the future of tomorrow depends on the foundations laid today and youths cannot become trusted leaders if they cannot follow in trust.
- Youths must encourage themselves by interacting with one another and creating social networks that can easily strengthen them when faced with discouraging attitudes about moral issues. This can bring about the institution of a strong and viable moral base founded on principles that work.
- The national goals for the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity and the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian nation can become a reality if the Nigerian nation adopts moral values that will be recognized as its core identity and encourage its spread among its youths by proving that this identity penetrates all facets of life and is worthwhile.
Enemuo, P. C. & Nzulumike, C. (2009). Education, Leadership and National Development. Nigerian Journal of Educational Philosophy, 21 (1): 69-80
Isichei, F. M & Bolaji, S. D. (2010). Relevance of Philosophy of Education to National Value Re- Orientation. Nigerian Journal of Educational Philosophy, 1(1): 22-30
Kosemani, J. M. & Okorosaye- Orubite, A. K. (1995). History of Nigerian Education: A Contemporary Analysis. Port Harcourt: Abe Publishers.