For the longest time, I have been looking for books, materials, and references dealing with the leadership needs of young people from a distinctly Filipino perspective. I went to various bookstores in search of such materials. Too bad, I haven’t found any.
There are books on leadership–John Maxwell’s books easily dominate the list. Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Peter Drucker also come close. Yet, books dealing with youth leadership specifically are rare and most of them usually come from other countries, mainly the United States.Having been the National President of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines from June 2006-June 2008, I found a burden in my heart to deal with this challenge of creating a material on youth leadership that could be used by youth leaders, and even youth ministers.
There are several reasons why this kind of material is badly needed now.
1. Youth leadership is being felt in different areas and sectors in our society. The recent Senatorial elections in the Philippines brought young people Chiz Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano to the revered halls of the Philippine Senate. More than that, those at the forefront of developments of technologies, gadgets, and entrepreneurship are youth. Young people feel as if they could do anything because of their boundless energies. For them to change the world, they need to be equipped with the leadership skills and abilities that they need.
2. Youth are actively changing the world now. Bill Gates was but in his youth when he designed the Windows operating system. Steve Jobs of Apple was also young when he started. The owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is but in his early twenties when he earned his first million dollars. In the Philippines, the youth are also at the forefront of the corporate world, making a difference in the economic life of the country. Most call center agents, managers, and bosses, are still in their youth.
3. The youth have idealism, which can be refined and mobilized. Young people have a bent for the ideal and for a better world. When this idealism is refined and put to action, the world could not stay the same. Idealism has to be tempered by reality and experience for it to acquire depth and meaning. With leadership skills, the youth can become even more powerful with their idealism.
4. Youth are being affected by the forces of globalization, crime, and other environmental influences. If they do not practice personal discipline, and leadership, the young people are bound to make mistakes and failures. With leadership, they can easily muster courage, and enough momentum to combat the issues that they are facing.
5. Youth are looking to other youth for leadership and guidance. Young people are looking for role models and peers who can influence them positively. Since the Filipino youth themselves can understand each other–their language, their struggles, and their own problems, the youth themselves can act as leaders among themselves. This way, the youth can become more empowered.