Are young people today resigned, disinterested, lazy? Is “every new generation even worse than the previous one” really?
Although I am often disappointed with some of the actions and worldviews of my and younger generations, lately I feel optimistic that it’s not all that black, and that in this same world, often alienated and superficial, good things are happening in parallel that unfortunately do not get enough space in the media, but which nevertheless exist and grow. Young people today have the potential to rise from the prevailing trends, backward historical worldviews and be a change for themselves and others.
Tolerance as the norm
I firmly believe that some things regarding the tolerance and respect for the rights of “different” people, people who jump out of artificial, socially set frames, will become the norm in the coming generations. Discrimination, xenophobia, unhealthy nationalism, fear of being different have become patterns that are slowly but surely being condemned in today’s world. Tolerance is learned first in the family and I believe that today we are beginning to raise parents who will instill in their children the highest principles of humanity. In the current wave of refugees, as many suspicious and closed-minded views, there are so many examples of humane, open-minded young people sacrificing their time and comfort to help in a systematic, organized and selfless way. Although we cannot expect a uniform stance on these unfortunately still controversial issues, the fact is that today we are witnessing an increase in the number of educated and humane young people, and it is up to society to give them an opportunity and recognition.
To be active and informed
Many of the policy priorities of Europe concern precisely young people – their employment, education and social inclusion. Knowing your rights, expressing your needs, asking, creating and fighting for what’s important and needed is the main tool for creating a better system. In the future, civic education is likely to become an obligation in all schools, as they teach the basic principles of a democracy that can and must function, human rights issues, sustainable development; that is, all those issues on which the common good of all generations rests. It makes no sense to take a passive stance on social issues and then later complain about the system it has scheduled.
Changing the value system
Recently, an 18-year-old Australian by the name of Essena O’Neill has launched a real revolution on social networks by rebelling against a value system in which young girls are valued through a number of likes and followers on social networks. Essena had millions of followers at the time of leaving all social networks and was earning huge sums of money from advertising various brands. It also shocked her to acknowledge that life on social networks is often staged and embellished to the limit when it no longer has to do with reality, real feelings and honest human stories that include both the good and the bad. You can check out Essen’s website for inspiring and moving videos of self-esteem, distorted value systems and how media and social networks work at letsbegamechangers.com. An example of a humane movement that promotes values other than those that dominate today comes from Zagreb, where it recently debuted a major volunteer project “72 Hours Without Compromise,” aimed specifically at young people. The response was surprisingly good in the end, and the project produced wonderful results. A system of values based on the principles of aiding and abetting humanity is the basis of any social progress, and young people seem to be increasingly recognizing it. The hardest part is getting rid of the spiral of resignation and resentment at the current state, but when we are each other’s example and encouragement, anything is possible!