The Preda philosophy and methods of empowering youth and developing the positive potential and value of youth is based on the recognition of the goodness in every human person. Children are born innocent and it is only as they grow up that they are corrupted by the adult world and imitate and learn from those with whom they have the most human contact. The good or bad example of parents, teachers, clergy, and civic leaders has a powerful influence on young people.
This is especially true when they admire and imitate those people who give them leadership, strong encouragement, guidance and companionship with clear positive virtuous goals in life. They tend to become good strong characters with a civic spirit to serve and help others.
The failure of parents to give the positive good example of a life of virtue, love and nurturing is what make young people go out to seek support and inspiration elsewhere. Frequently they are recruited, influenced and befriended by those of a negative outlook on life.
When the parents fail the child, the caring “village” must fill the void with positive role models and people who can give real friendship. If not they will fall into the influence of drug gangs or criminal gangs. More recently, they have fallen into the power and grooming of ISIS and other terrorists who offer them excitement and so called adventure. These youth that are led astray have weak bonds to their families. Family love must be increased and children cherished and never ignored or excluded. Even when they make youthful mistakes, understanding and forgiveness and learning must be there, never rejection, scolding, anger or abusive language be used.
A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL & A POSITIVE PEER GROUP IS ESSENTIAL.
To give the vulnerable and directionless youth a positive supportive peer group is very important. A youth group doing community activities, sports games, and adventure trips is what will build up self-confidence in this community and a sense of belonging and being wanted and important. Building self-esteem by positive reinforcement is life giving.
Youth will say they “want to be somebody”, meaning that they think and feel they are “nobody”. So personal positive principled peer group support giving affirmation, positive reinforcement to the youth is needed.
A caring and loving family environment is essential to full human growth. If this is missing, then the community ought to supply it.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE AFFIRMATION TO YOUTH.
Giving affirmation, support, and encouragement is essential for full human growth and empowerment of a human person, and greatly helped by the positive statements that “you are good in your heart and character, we have to make it grow together”. Encouragement is essential. It builds up the child’s self-esteem, confidence and personal dignity. It empowers them to stand for their rights and seek justice. Value formation, formal and non-formal, and personality education must be provided, relationships in a positive peer group based on affirmation and mutual respect will give the lonely, isolated youth a friendship group from whom he or she will learn the positive values of caring for self and others.
Emotional Expression Therapy
In a non-violent, supportive, spiritual, and peace making peer group, the deeply morose youth can explore their inner feelings and hurts and pains and feeling of being unwanted, rejected and friendless. The feeling of being insecure, unloved and unwanted is the cause of depression and leads to anger and even violence.
The violent prone young person comes to be like that by growing up in a negative atmosphere where they can be put down with parents or siblings who tell them, “You will come to nothing”, “You are useless and will never learn”, or “Better that you were dead, wish you were never born” and so on.
In severe cases where they are prone to violent acts against their family or peers, they need more serious therapy. They need and want to be free from the anger in their heart and the feeling of resentment and thoughts of revenge that leads to violent acts. To resolve these issues and prevent violence, the condition needs emotional expression therapy. The deep anger that they carry with them always has to be released for them to be free.
It is important to cast away their violent tendencies and behavior and find other ways to release their emotional feelings of anger and frustration. This is achieved through the Emotional Expression Therapy. In this, they are helped by the therapist to relive their childhood traumas and hurts and to vent out their hurt pain and anger in the therapy room. In their imagination they confront the person or persons who hurt them and they relive, experience again that hurt and painful past.
They are encouraged to react to this situation in a natural way that was forbidden to them before because of their vulnerability and powerlessness against their stronger tormentor and abuser. In this way, peace of mind and heart is created. Their anger is released and they can feel at peace with themselves and the community. They don’t project their buried and painful feeling on the staff or other residents.
Buried anger and pain vented or projected at others is a diversion from its real intended target, a childhood abuser perhaps. This projection of anger is usually the cause of violence in the prisons or youth detention centers. There are very few incidents of violence in the Preda Home for Boys.
We appeal to the mind and heart. We strive to awaken their reason and spiritual values. To build up and strengthen their free will and conscience to choose the right way, to select good over wrong-doing and embrace the positive life enhancing values. Through education, we awaken an interest in knowledge and a curiosity of mind and interest in self-improvement. In this way, a positive happy peer group environment is created.
The low rate of any violent incidents in peer groups (because of adult role models and guides to life where they will find self-esteem and confidence) is due to this peaceful respectful lifestyle and supportive peer group and counseling services available.
Youth will embrace a peaceful and positive lifestyle with concern and respect for others when they feel they know and experience that they have respect and dignity and are treated justly and fairly and get help for their future life. The other activities, training and seminars build character and virtue in them so they participate in the peer group activities and reform their own lives.
They create a life experience themselves; nothing should be imposed on them. They can be led and directed to discover their nature as human beings, what makes them fully human as unique and different from the other creatures with animal nature. Discovering the points of their humanity such as free will, reason, the ability to talk, to have deep personal non-sexual relationships, and love and compassion of the needy stranger: agape – selfless altruistic love.
Sexual maturity, education for youth.
Much youth aggression comes for some in the form of frustration at relationship. Failed attempts to connect and relate. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to reduce tension and anxiety and insecurity and fear of rejection.
Also many youth have problems in discovering their true sexual identity and relationships. This is an important area for personality development and education and training in this area of human life and experience needs to be a priority. Few youth or adults ever get educated on how to be a good friend, a partner or parent. School does not offer courses in these vital areas of human experience and life.