A Change of Approach: Lessons from Journeying with Contemporary Youth

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14th Feb 2020

3 min read

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There is so much around us that is at a relentless pace of change. I recall a quote that once provoked my mind into thought:The only thing that remains constant is the fact that nothing remains constant.

How conflicting and confounding a thought. In such a perceptually fluctuating world, much around us is in chronic flux; from the phones we use, the way we conduct business, all the way down to the ways through which we communicate and relate with another.  

Distilled down several layers, this trend translates to the youth. The things that get their interests are constantly changing, so it is with the mode of communication and their need for instant gratification.

At a more foundational level, these shifts find expression in its most elemental and base formin the formation of a youths worldview. It is the lens through which they view the world, their significance, and their purpose in it.  

The disruptor known as technology, shows little or no mercy, much to the delight of some and the bane of many.  Jack Ma had once said, We can only teach our kids to compete with machines, should we teach them soft skills and values and focus on that which makes them uniquely and distinctly human.

I have hadover the last year and a half the privilege of embarking on just that mission with the youth, removed from the conventional knowledge-based education approach towards a more foundational, human-centric, character building approach, that places greater focus on what makes us unique as people.

Here are three of my main observations based on my experience with working with the youth in Leaderonomics youth leadership camps.

READ: Harnessing Sustainability Through The Incredible Projects Of Leaderonomics’ MAD Youth Pitch Out

  1. Youth are unconstrained by the “should be’s”. 

Youths are individuals who are hungry, not just in the physical sense but more so in search of an identity and a sense of belonging.

This quest for an identity often leads to a myriad of challenges in the form of questions that can be often construed as rebellious or rude.

Yet, I have come to reason that behind the questions is a curious individual longing for genuine answers.  

In todays day and age a time rich with information and knowledge contemporary youth need to know the whys of society and the larger world in order to understand purpose, and perhaps, find their own in it.      

  1. Youth can easily learn new things

With the rate of change and growth in technology, it is hard if not impossible to keep up with the next best thing in the market. Youths on the other hand, have no such problem.

Often immersed in their digital devices (for better or for worse), and kept up to date with the latest technological games and trends, youths are accustomed to learning new things. It is a strength that I have learned to recognise.

They learn quicker, adapt faster, and are more fluid in adjusting to change.

  1. Youth are bridled with a grace to love and forgive 

Lastly, I have observed and discovered that the hearts of the young ones are bridled with a joy and filled with a grace to love and forgive.

What I find the most remarkable is that the youth are not desensitised to injustice. On the contrary, they are highly aware of it.

Due to their heightened recognition of infringements and injustice, they would likely have the greatest reasons to hold a grudge and exhibit bitterness.But I have found that it is they who refrain from it, and chose instead to extend grace in truth, love, and forgiveness – a lesson all of humanity can learn from. After all, there are no enduring relationships without forgiveness.

Journeying with the youth through leadership camps, has been an immensely challenging yet profoundly humbling experience. There is just as much to learn from them as there is to impart to them.

On a person level, there have been mental blocks and cognitive barriers that limit the level of my interactions, often governed by the misplaced preferences and ideals of antiquity.

It is breaking out of this mould that I find the most challenging. Yet, break out I must and will in order to love and care for the youth in such a manner that is relevant to their time not my own. It is often said that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

More and more are youth a tremendous asset, whose values are not to be solely realised in the future, but sown and nurtured in the present.  

Gurpreet is the Department Head for Leaderonomics Youth. He is tasked with developing relationships with current and potential clients, identifying synergies, and capturing opportunities for mutual benefit. In his leisure time, he enjoys watching movies, reading, and intellectually stimulating conversations preferably over a cup of coffee. Get in touch with him by emailing gurpreet.sji@leaderonomics.com.

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