By Umair Jaliawala (Published in YLC Supplement (The News) on July 1, 2010)
How many times do you get to hear ‘ajkal ke nujawan suntay nahin’ or ‘…‘apni marzi chalatay hain’ followed by ‘pehlay waqton mein to…’ and the complaints and comparisons are unending. From parents to preachers, events to media, and institutions to organizations; everyone, everywhere and anytime is aroused to jibe the youth.
So here I am, a 23-year old, presenting a hard-to-believe, but an honest account of my 4 years with approx 30,000 youth. And I am not exaggerating when I say that the following compilation is an underestimation of what our youth is and has always been!
(image via Jeff Epp)
Lie # 1: Youth aren’t interested in personal development
(image via jasontheaker)
Many a times when we go to educational institutions, the faculty and the administration scares us before the session. They proudly tell us about the foolproof arrangements they have made to ensure attendance and discipline. They share stories of how students reacted to several previous speakers, hooted, turned their backs or left… I agree it happens, but rarely happens to us. In my humble opinion, youth is more interested in personal development than their elders; they are flexible and willing to try out.
Lie # 2: They don’t listen
(image via ProPakistani)
This perhaps is the hottest-favorite. Before we discuss this, I’d like to ask the same question to our elders, do you listen? In numerous interactions, youth share their frustration as to how they are not listened to, how their opinions and interests are ignored! Coming back to youth not listening, I have seen youth disregard speakers completely and regard a speaker highly, so they do listen but they choose who they want to listen to.
Lie # 3: They need maturity
Maturity is not bound to age. We have come across immature seniors and mature juniors. Today, average ages of giant multinationals is down to mid or late twenties – am sure these organizations are not risking their future with ‘immature’ workforce. What generally is regarded as maturity is ‘fitting-in’. We want all youngsters to fit into the shape we think is ideal. Well, fortunately, that’s not happening!
Lie # 4: They are not focused
(image via Sun shi)
That’s not a lie – it’s a truth. But we can make it a lie by saying youth are focused on experimenting. What better? We are preaching oldies to start trying, to become creative/innovate and to think lateral but have issues with youngsters doing the same. In our training experience, our young participations surprise us with the solutions they bring about, versatility they demonstrate in their talk and agility when they get into action.
…and there’s so much more which I am struggling to collate here, but lets talk a little about this dual-sidedness of youth. We share in our trainings that ‘Communication is the response you get’. All of the above are responses given by the youth, but here’s why:
-Engage, not enrage: I did a video on the same. Our words mostly enrage the youth instead of engaging them. We rarely acknowledge their youthfulness, their awesome talent and their contribution.
-Reconsider your style: Youth like it with spice, they like with fun and they like it with challenge. Does your style cater to these needs?
-Stop telling, start facilitating: Don’t tell the youth what to do. Ask them what would they’d like to do and how will they go about doing it. You’ll be surprise to hear the answers you wanted to tell them on your own.
-Let them be: Reminds me of an Atif Aslam concert where the audience took over from Atif and completed the song for him. When this was happening, Atif smiled and sat on the floor, listening. He bounced back when they got done and interestingly everyone joined him with more zeal. Makes sense?
-It’s their life: We’ve got to come to terms with this – it’s their life. Everyone has right to do whatever they want to do, with whoever, however and whenever as long as it isn’t at anyone else’s loss. If you don’t like yellow, it’s your problem, not of the person who’s wearing yellow.
(image via Katarina 2353)
ABOUT THE WRITER
Umair’s mission in life is to TURN people ON. “Most of us are not living our 100%, lack purpose, fear and/or do things out of obligation. Let’s realize the unique flavor God blessed each of us with. Let’s make each second count and live beyond our lives!”
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