Youth Energy Can Make the Difference
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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.
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