Since President Obama is going to give a message to youth on September 8, I thought I’d publish Meher Baba’s message to youth from Listen, Humanity, pp. 179-80.
“It is the privilege of youth to be full of energy and hope. Not being caught in any ruts, your dreams of the future have the advantage of being inspired by an unfettered imagination. In the glow of a newborn love or in the warmth of a newly caught enthusiasm, you are quick to respond to the call for action and sacrifice.
“Life would be poorer without these qualities that are predominantly present in youth. But if you are to derive the full benefit of the qualities with which you are abundantly endowed, you must also try to acquire some other qualities which are rare in youth.
“Hope should be fortified by a courage which can accept failure without upset. Enthusiasm should be harnessed by the wisdom that knows how to wait with patience for the fruit of action. Idealistic dreams about the future should be balanced by a sense of the realities of the present. And the glow of love should allow itself to be illumined by the full exercise of reason.
“It is easy for youth to be so absorbed in realizing the ideal that it becomes bitter against the present and the past. But it is as well to cultivate a spirit of idealizing the real, while being appreciative of the heritage of the past. The world as it is may not seem to conform to the pattern which youth adores, but you must never forget that it is always good enough to merit your most loving attention. In your desire to improve the world, do not, by becoming bitter, surrender your right to be happy.
“Youth loves freedom and therefore has a natural impulse to rebel against all authority. This is well and good, but you should make a real effort to keep free of the many illusions to which youth is particularly susceptible. True self-expression need not include irreverence for others. True criticism need not involve snobbishness or cynicism. True freedom need not manifest hostility or separateness.
“Freedom without responsibility is a doubtful boon. Freedom is worth having only where there is self-restraint and willingness to cooperate with others. Youth is always willing to act and take risks. It should be allowed to yield freely to this fearless and imperative urge of life within. But while engaged in action, youth must take every care that it is creative, and not destructive. Let your watchwords always be LOVE and SERVICE.”