The Youth

Published by rudy Date posted on February 8, 2009

Ask anyone over the age of 25 and they will tell you that the youth today are different, that they aren’t like what they used to be back in the old days. Ask anyone under the age of 25 and they will tell you the youth of today are different and that things aren’t what they used to be back in the old days. There is no generation gap it seems. Except that the gap is so wide it could be called a black hole. Or the tech-savvy youth might prefer to think of it as vast as cyberspace.

And so we play the blame game. We blame it on our food and our trans fat and our diets. We blame it on the media. We blame it on the nuclear power plants that mutate everything they touch. We blame it on global warming. And then, of course, we blame the youth themselves.

We accuse them of being lazy. We accuse them of being self-centered. We accuse them of being rebellious and uncooperative. We claim that they have no drive. No passion for anything worthwhile. No capacity to make choices. And then we very self-righteously shake our heads at each other and ask what the world is coming to. And so young people find themselves trapped within the walls of our perception of them.

But everyone who has ever spent a lot of time with young people (especially teenagers) will tell you that the problem is not young people themselves, but in grown-ups who do not give them an opportunity to become better than they are. Most young people are merely looking for a cause to follow, a crusade that they can die for and adults that they can look up to. Sadly, very few adults have stepped up to the challenge.

But if you would see young people in action, as they truly are, you we see a fire in their eyes that could move nations, a strength of character that would put world leaders to shame, purity of purpose that could convert sinners and wisdom far beyond their years. In my work and even outside it, I am always amazed by how young people can give so much of themselves without expecting anything in return. In one religious youth organization, for example, young college students organize and implement Christmas parties that benefit thousands of young children. In the school where I teach, teenagers work in the summer and give half their salaries to help support the schooling of young students like themselves. During the World Youth Day, thousands upon thousands of young people declared their faith in front of a world that no longer found God important.

If we adults would only give them a chance to prove themselves and the encouragement to be better, we would show all young people that being young is not about being powerless and inexperienced and self-involved but being passionate and generous and virtuous.–Nancy Unchuan Toledo, Philippine Star

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