With a very unfair headline this past week about the youth in our community, I think it’s only fair to write a little piece of truth about those very youth. Unruly, they are NOT. A credit to the community and parish, they most certainly are.

Our young teenagers in the Parish have been an absolute pleasure to watch and listen to on our Parish facebook page throughout this Lenten and Easter time. Reading, reflecting and talking about their faith. And interviewing a host of different people from the Parish and beyond in recent weeks too. Real gems of our community and parish these teenagers are.

Our younger teens and children have recently been referred to as ‘unruly’ and being in ‘gangs’ here in our village. Certainly these young folk are about the village in groups – but I don’t think we can refer to them as gangs. It’s simply groups of friends trying to find ways to pass their time at this strange and very unusual time of Covid-19.

These young people have proved how resilient they all are over the past year. Missing out on so much school. Missing out on that all important social contact with their friends. And being forced to stay home for endless periods of time with family. And for young people, staying home is not what they want to be doing. Young people need to see their friends and to interact.

As these young people are slowly getting back to school, they are also getting back to meeting in groups in this, their home village. And yes, there may have been occasions of late when they have messed around a bit – ‘let he without sin cast the first stone’!! Who hasn’t made mistakes? Hmmm…..

These kids, and yes, they are just kids. are out walking the streets, and maybe getting up to a bit of mischief. But they need our support just now, not our condemnation. We adults are also making many mistakes. But we can all work together and try and make life a little easier.

Young folk, let’s show everyone that you folk really are the great youth that we know you are. Enjoy your walks together with friends: but be a little more careful crossing the roads. Have some fun and craic together: just don’t annoy or insult anyone in your group or anyone not in your group. Surprise people you meet as you walk around and offer to do a good deed for them. Quite simply folks, just ‘be kind.’

So before one casts that first stone, stop and think about what these kids have been through. Praise them for the good, and not criticize for the mistakes.

It’s a time to come together and not drift apart. Time to make some positive headlines.