Aguilar: Millennials

Against the current

LET me share with you a note I had about our youth today as compared in the olden times.

A few centuries ago, people in their teens were already engaged in war as their expression of love for country. Social involvement started in their youth as they concerned themselves with the highest ideals of statehood and governance. Embedded in the different cultures during the birth of nations were high regard for honor and chivalry. The youth then were game changers.

And then the influx of liberalism and technology came as nations embraced different forms of democracy. The trend in the last decade was to empower every individual as we conducted ourselves in our daily activities. So long as someone does not violate any law, he or she is practically free to do or not do anything; a person can open as many businesses as he can manage or be a bum. The intentions are obviously well and good, putting premium to the individual’s right to pursue his or her own happiness.

However, what we failed to account in this fast changing world is that every individual has different levels of maturity. We miss to consider that while empowerment and freedom are great in themselves, these concepts only get fully taken advantage by someone with a certain level of maturity already but will only remain an untapped power or even misused power for those who do not know any better. Such is the sad story of our millennials.

You see, having taught in basic education for more than a decade, the young naturally gravitate to me, vice versa. I have had close encounters with Generation X, Generation Next, Generation Y, and our present day millennials. Our millennials are naturally good and loving people, please don’t get me wrong. But the freedom and empowerment so to say that are extended to them without adult guidance are just the perfect recipe for disaster. You see, most parents now are busy building their careers because in our world today, there is no limit for pursuing happiness. The number of OFWs spiked over the last decade. This leaves our millennials unattended and unsupervised as they manipulate whatever technology available for them making the Internet their main teachers of right and wrong.

Although it is hard to generalize, a significant number of our youth now is so exposed to consumerism — they buy and buy and buy. They hardly have enough exposure for altruism. And having no models for morality, they resort to popular culture. Selfies, groupfies, foodporn, fashion — these are just some of the new household activities and topics, but gone are the concepts of history, governance, philosophy, religion and faith. Sadly, they become the victims of their lack of structure which manifests in the rate of bullying in school, gangsterism and being exposed to sex way too early.

This very alarming state of the millennials are bound to become a crisis if unchecked. Sectors have to pitch in to come up with some form of moral recovery. A simple strict implementation of curfew to minors by our barangays can drastically minimize if not eliminate the phenomenon of gangsterism among the young and put a final stop of minors gambling in online games through pesonets. Reviving youth organizations in church and in school can instill a sense of belongingness, structure and even discipline. And at home, if only everyone eats at the same time with at least one adult on the table then half of this battle is already won. Research has it that inculturation happens in the dining table. History, current events, geography, and culture are passed on from generation to generation over dinner.

The millennials may seem happy with their good fashion sense and great selfies, but their behaviors are a clear cry for guidance. As adults, whether we are their biological parents or not are duty-bound to at least call them out for their errors.


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