When I write this the first person to strike my mind is my own cousin brother – a meritorious student who took up science and performed quite well until something really changed. One who put hours and every tiny tissue of his brain into solving mathematics and physics’ problems unexpectedly decided to take a complete turn from his aspirations to become an engineer to that of a social activist. We don’t understand, till date, what really altered his mind but all that jazz he does now is something we have never failed to take pride in. He had the courage and grit to plunge into a field which might not have given him what a ‘safe’ job bids but it surely gave him the personal satisfaction we only yearn for – to touch our imaginations closely, change people’s lives and be remembered.
Although we presume that my cousin brother drew inspiration from his own mother who was a social activist herself but I have understood not everyone needs someone very close to be enthused for being thoughtful of their social responsibilities. The power of empathy in today’s generation has been somehow underrated but there are young empathizers in good numbers and not all of them adhere to selfishness or a closed mindset. It is us who need to open the doors to the potential of so many youngsters which will eventually make a difference in the society.
So what is this social responsibility we are talking about? It is the adolescents’ embracement of their individuality amidst the clarification of one’s part in a broadening social framework. In detail, it is the acknowledgment of the value of each decision one takes; being compassionate to everybody else including self; establishing a sense of control and competitiveness with each growing step; being enlightened about human rights; understanding the importance of getting involved in others’ matters through humanitarian works; working on to develop a sense of leadership with shifting time pattern. But I must mention that social responsibility doesn’t originate with the burden of performing for others in a mandatory way. Infact it must not be professed as a liability at all. One does not need to be a social activist to prove the authenticity of their sense of responsibility but it is that sensitivity which must be inculcated to be genuinely vested in our subconscious. As much as empathy roots essentiality, the fundamental quality that social responsibilities call for is selflessness. The capacity to reflect beyond one’s perimeter of comfort zone is where the challenge lies, especially because generosity resides in day-to-day affair that eventually seeds what one desires to be. If you are playing music louder than what is audible, ignoring your neighbors’ discomforts or if you think indulging in issues like littering/ spitting/ ignoring traffic signals is minor then you must seriously reassess your ‘principles’. Your life-is-short-so-take-a-chill-pill could manifest serious inescapable complications for others in some cases and before you shrug off again, try revising your old school textbooks. While this may look like a rant on my young friends, it very much applies for society as a whole. We abide by our social responsibilities to give back to the society that brought us up. Similarly it is equally important that societies let the young minds grow its own wings, understand societal norms and not just impose it on them, open doors to democracy and likewise retain its integrity by performing its own duties. After all, even a society must be socially responsible in order to evolve.
Well the real issue lies in trusting our generation. Our assumption on today’s youth as irresponsible and wayward will do more harm than anything because our negative attitude towards them might affect what they do. Every human being is born with a scope to be better than their previous version and sometimes, as they say, there are rewards ahead on taking a leap of faith. On being discouraged or doubted unnecessarily, the potential in them gradually dies. It is important to acknowledge one’s creativity and curiosity. Hence it is vital that we not only properly communicate but also inform, inspire, empower and create awareness among people for a distinct understanding of the dynamic relationship between human development and social development.