Give youth a chance

We often have the habit of talking about the “good, old days.”

What exactly does that mean? Generally, it would mean we are experiencing a wistfulness for the past when life was slower, less consumerism and materialism existed, you didn’t have to keep up with the Joneses, ladies were ladies and men were chivalrous.

And of course, how could we forget our youth? The generation we now call the “lost ones?” Are our present lot of youth really a good-for-nothing, pot-smoking and hippie crowd? Can’t we see any hope for them in the horizon?

Depends on how you see them. Often, it is the tint of our glasses that affects our view. If we choose to see our youth as a misguided, spoilt and pampered breed, we not only lose hope but the youth might lose confidence in themselves. This will be a tragedy.

But if we choose to see our youth as seeds of potential, talent and blossoming wisdom, we will do them credit by affording them the responsibility to believe in themselves and make it good.

No doubt, we have better facilities and access to amenities like never before. Some of the Bhutanese are an affluent lot and their children are often sent abroad to get the best education and training. But back home, apart from the numerous cases of substance abuse, brawls and other nightmarish tales that parents can only dream of, we must also see our youth as a bright beacon for tomorrow.

Never before has there been such an upsurge of young talents especially in the arts. Youth are now becoming icons of their own. What they do need are good, responsible role models who will show them the way. They need to understand that a life of values lived out is indeed worthy of respect. And character does certainly make a man or woman.

While adults before them must show the way by sheer example and not only through preaching, they also must shoulder the responsibility of nurturing youth through their turbulent years and hormonal rages and emotions. Additionally, the nurturing part must be supplemented by holding youth accountable for their actions. With love must come discipline. This is called “tough love”.

A parent or authority who does not discipline does not care for nor has any concern for the youth who looks up to him. Instead, he must not only be a loving figure but a compass that shows the way when the youth has erred.

Youth also would do well to remember that they are not entitled to everything in life. For instance, to gain respect, they must earn it. To get a job, they must be willing to slog. There is no easy money, no easy way out unless they want to rob a bank or con a millionaire.

But the basic message is: youth need to prove themselves but we need to give them a chance to do so.