Franklin D. Roosevelt quoted “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future”.
The youth of today face challenges which are different than what the earlier generations faced and accordingly they need to be dealt differently. The major ones are as follows:
Expectations- Today the pressure on them to perform is the highest than it ever was in any of the generations before. One of the reasons for this is that, today we are more connected to each other than before due to deluge of social media and this leads to the youth comparing themselves with others in a large way. The divide between the have and have nots is much larger and this leads to discontentment and show off happening from the school level itself. Due to dual income concept, both parents are working and they add to the stress by putting their expectations on the children without having much time to support them emotionally. The young generation today is either running with stress and impatience to achieve or have given up hope of doing anything worthwhile.
Because of these reasons, the youth today pretend to live a lifestyle which is not theirs in the quest to stay up or be connected to the friendships or social group they have built. The constant struggle to be accepted, being a part of the friend’s circle, following the same trend their friends follow has lead the youth to live a fake lifestyle where they seem more happier, more daring and more outgoing than what they truly are.
Distractions- The visual media has replaced text that required more concentration. And it bombards them constantly as mobile as become an inseparable part of life for the youth. Young people have to be on their toes constantly in order to stay updated about the new age apps and have an active participation in them so that they can be a part of various social, professional and other similar social groups. They prowl the city in the nights and wake up when the Sun is hot in the sky.
Easy Access – Because of easy access to anything and everything like the media- display of explicit, luxurious and vulgar content without any edit or filters, it has exposed and introduced the youth to make purchases based on influence and so called brand consciousness that is created by the media and peers. Today they find hard to focus on their studies or career or family as the voices that call out to them are louder than the reality.
Substance abuse- Smoking, consuming alcohol, drugs due to peer pressure in the quest to be accepted by the peers and to follow the so called ‘cool’ trend and easy accessibility of these intoxicants have made the youth weaker emotionally and mentally.
Because of all the above mentioned situations, the youth today is all outside, disconnected from himself, and is living in an illusionary world. Many of them fall into depression when they see that the world is not all that hunky dory and actually has hard realities they need to face and big challenges that have to be surmounted.
Most of the youth today lies in low self-esteem, negativity, dependency, comparison, rigidity and discontentment. Issues related to body image and self-image in front of others are more than ever before. Irrational behaviour and fluctuating behavioural and thinking pattern is common in them. Dependency on others for appreciation and acknowledgement is more than ever before.
The connection with the inner-self is lacking and thus they lack the power and wisdom that comes from within to learn and evolve. I can simply say that today’s youth are driven by pleasure and pain. They run towards things that give thrills and run away or push away from things that seem daunting. They are not able to connect or handle or deal with certain emotions and situations that come to them in reality. This results in most of them becoming rigid, stubborn and aggressive.
Solution Today it is only logic and reasoning that will make them understand and bring them on the right path. It is unlike our times, when we did something just because we were told to do it by our parents and teachers. Spirituality has to be packaged and presented to them in their language, so that they can tune to self-introspection and connect to themselves.