The youth of today are the citizens of tomorrow. How we engage, inspire and empower them today will have a lasting impact on not just their future but the future of the country too. If we continue to treat them as immature children, they will behave as such. However, if we want them to plan for their future, put in hard efforts and shine in all their endeavors, then we need to guide them in the right manner. Some ideas to inspire the youth are listed below:
1) Trust them
If we want the youth of today to behave responsibly, we need to place our trust on them. Responsibility comes with autonomy. If we squeeze out every bit of freedom from them, they would only fight for ways to obtain their freedom. They will be unable to think constructively. We need to trust them and motivate them to carve their future in the best manner.
2) Show empathy
Youth go through many changes in their life. Apart from the concoction of hormones in their body, they also leave behind old friends in their cozy schools and move on to new friendships in the strange new arena called college. At this critical juncture in their lives, they need not just our attention and support but also our empathy. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and view the world through their eyes. When we understand their perspective, it is easier to inspire and guide them.
3) Lead by example
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi. Be the change you want to see in your child. If you are sprawled in front of the television for hours, your child will grow up to be a couch potato too. Cut down your TV hours before you ask your child to cut down his. Children are great imitators. So, give them something great to imitate. Parents are the most important role models for children. Instead of asking children to do as you say, ask them to do as you do. As Albert Schweitzer says,
Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
4) Appreciate them
A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected. When we appreciate the efforts of the youth around us, however small it may be, it will make a difference to them and they strive to do more. This is especially true with youth volunteerism. Whenever your teenage child or neighbor participates in any social cause, appreciate them. Show them the difference they are making in the world. Forcing social consciousness on youth through college credits, etc. will not motivate them to create a better India. Instead we should ask them to envision the changes that would lead to betterment and be a part of the team to plan and implement them.
When we kindle the thoughts of the youth with goals and questions about their future and the future of the nation, we fill their lives with purpose. This purpose propels them forward in the best direction. As Viktor Frankl, the holocaust survivor and author of the book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, says,
Ever more people today have the means to live but no meaning to live for.