Jenelle Orosz


Youth Energy Can Make the Difference


Not only is it possible for the youth of America to make a change in today’s society, but it is also necessary that we do so!  With every generation, significant differences concerning their views of other races, religions, and cultures are evident.  This younger generation—our generation—has been brought up in a society where a person is seen as a fellow human being no matter what race, gender, religion, sexual preference, social status, or financial situation they may belong to.  In his essay, “The Human Approach to World Peace,” the Dalai Lama proposes that people stop pursuing their own happiness at the cost of others and transform that “self-interest” into a “mutual interest.”  It is urgent that the change is made, and it needs to start with the youth.


One may wonder, “Why rely on the youth rather than the adults of the older generation?”  It is easy to think that the adults would be the correct choice to lead this movement of making the world a more “compassionate, just and equitable place,” as the Dalai Lama desires it to be.  This idea, however, is incorrect.  Although there is a tendency to think of someone who is older as someone who is wiser, that is not always the case.  On the other hand, it is true in the sense that they are wise in the ways that they had been taught by their societies as youths.  The main reason why the older generation cannot be the leaders in this effort is due to the fact that the Civil Rights movement of the 60s presented a difficult transition for them to make.  Therefore, many people are still stuck in their old views and do not desire change.  They are already halfway done with life and are too ‘burned out’ to begin a movement that many of them will not even live to see carried out.  Their energy has been spent playing their own significant role in this ever-changing world; so now it is our turn.


Nowadays, youth have been exposed to information that has opened our eyes to a new understanding of other cultures.  We have been introduced to more humanitarian views and have been shown that previously unwanted ideas, such as cultural diffusion and integration, are valuable things for the enhancement of our world.  It is because of these main differences between the older and younger generations of today that the movement must begin with youth. 


Metaphorically speaking, if this change for world peace were a marathon, it is most likely that an eighteen-year-old person would have a better chance of winning than a fifty- or sixty-year-old person?  It is only natural because, as youths, we have more energy and, in most cases, are more physically capable.  Our ideas are fresh, and our purpose is defined.  In order to achieve an end to the all-too-common tragedies we hear of every day and to engage the rest of the world to participate in the peace effort, we must begin with ourselves.  This is where the older generation had a problem, because the idea of worldwide peace and equality was so abrupt that they did not have enough transition time to realize the importance.  However, as a result of the education we have received as youths, we are more open-minded and better prepared to make the necessary change.


It is up to the youth to devote ourselves to making peace in our societies and to begin the initiative.  I am not saying, though, that the older generation is useless in this cause.  Their role has been indirect but essential because it is through observing their mistakes that we can lay a foundation to build on.  It is as though the effort will progress in the form of an upside down pyramid.  It all starts at the bottom, the point at which an individual has changed his or her personal views.  As time goes on, the pyramid widens to cover larger areas; for example, neighborhoods to cities, to states, to countries!  Because the progression toward world peace will evolve slowly, it is important for the youth to begin initiating peace and understanding within their communities immediately.


As the youth of America, we are young and have a lot of energy to offer toward the cause.  Our willingness to accept ideas of equality and universal responsibility—a deep concern for all people disregarding their creed, race, gender, or nationality—is a key ingredient to making this movement successful.  Just as we are in our early stage of life, the movement toward world peace is also in its formative stages.  Through the many decades to come we will grow and mature into adulthood; likewise, the development of our cause and the results of our efforts will be more visible.  The world is falling apart, and the time to make our move is now.  The best chance of success for the world peace effort rests with the youth.  A requirement for setting something into motion is a sufficient amount of energy, and it is within today’s youth that the potential is found.