Article On Y Net: “In recent weeks, a lot has been said about the “state of youth.” According to the data of the anti-alcohol and drug abuse authority, children in grades 7 – 11 participate in parties where alcohol flows like water and in which they also engage in free sex. ‘The combination of alcohol, hormones, puberty, and the absence of a responsible adult is very dangerous,” says Dr. Yossi Harel Fish, Chief scientist of the Israeli Anti-drug Authority and an expert in the field of children’s risky behaviors. ‘If in the past teenagers went out to have fun and also drank little, today the purpose of entertainment is the drinking itself.”
“’Later on in the evening the clothes come off as these kids get drunk and soon the atmosphere intensifies. Such parties take place in guest rooms with a Jacuzzi, in fancy lofts, or in distant forests. In most cases the parents don’t know what is going on or perhaps prefer not to know.” This may be part of the explanation as to why they don’t ask…
If you also take into account the trendy sayings about today’s youth like “they are indifferent, cold, and alienated” or “today’s youth are shallow,” along with terms like “the screen generation,” you get a combination, which according to recent studies conducted by the University of Michigan, there is an 80% decline in the ability of today’s youth to feel empathy towards one another. “Our kids are less humane, and we don’t notice it,” said anthropologist Tamir Leo recently. Leo is right but only as to the second part of the sentence; indeed we don’t realize what is happening with the youth today.
The youth are not the problem at all
We are the problem—the parents, not the youth. Nothing in this world happens by itself. There is no such thing as “good youth” or “bad youth.” Every generation is a product of their upbringing. And our generation is the direct outcome of our neglect. We have brought this trouble upon ourselves by our own hands.
We can build the world that we want for ourselves. We have dedicated our lives to the chase after a comfortable life, a successful career, and self-fulfillment, building our status and accumulating material possessions, and along the way have abandoned our children. Where were we when they left the playground, the ball games, and the walks in nature and fell into the poisonous dosage of screens, sex, alcohol, and drugs and rolled into a state where they don’t know how to communicate if it isn’t through the screen?
Instead of preparing the infrastructure for a happy life for them, we sent them to school hoping that something good would happen to them there. But what can happen in a system whose only goal is to provide information? A system whose only goal is to prepare them for making money, to succeed, to become famous but not for what they really need in life. We have created a distorted reality for them, which is everything but what life really is. It includes infinite connections between a person and a machine and zero connections between people and between one heart to the next. Today school is one of the worst places one can be, the source of most of the “viruses” our kids are affected by.
From the Ministry of Information to the Ministry of Education
What will happen in the next generation? In a decade, in two decades? When our children will manage the world? If we go on like this, the future doesn’t look so bright.
If we wish to give our children an entry card to life, we must make education, and not the teaching of information, an important national mission. The Ministry of Education and schools as its leading institution need a face lift. Instead of the obsessive engagement in information, grades, and international achievement tests, schools should focus on building the human being in a child. It has to cope with the greatest cause of distress youth feel today—their inability to speak, to open up, and especially their inability to properly connect with the environment.
Research shows that children and teenagers simply don’t know how to converse with one another. This is one of the reasons for their drinking or smoking: drinking dulls the pain and fills the internal empty void.
This goal goes along with one of the most highly demanded skills in the labor market today, which is teamwork. The more global the world becomes, the more we need to know how to work together, how to build the right relationship between us, to develop relationships of trust and cooperation. But instead of focusing on such skills, the education system focuses on an assembly line of chemists, mathematicians, or other technocrats.
A different type of education
Education means providing a young person with the right tools to understand himself and others, to understand the impulses he and others have, to teach him how to build a relationship with a mate and have a family, and how to make the world a warm and humane place. A child needs to feel that school teaches him how to live and prepares him for real life in the complicated era of the 21st century.
Social dynamics that should result from workshops, games, and activities during the school day should turn the child into his own “psychologist.” He has to study and to explore his nature, discover himself, and thus be able to successfully deal with life.
Today’s youth are experiencing a distorted reality of norms and behaviors that they see on the screens. They see artificial patterns of what is considered beautiful and expect the scenes that they view to be realized in life. School must become a mediator which is aware of the hormonal roller coaster these young people experience and help them learn about the inner world of both sexes, while respecting others and being sensitive to them. Ultimately most of the problems stem from lack of mutual understanding.
Teenagers must feel that they have someone they can talk to and who will listen to them. They must feel that what happens to them also happens to others, and therefore there is no reason to feel ashamed or to hide anything. This process must be accompanied by the right professional guidance, but the main point is that a child has a whole inner world that school doesn’t relate to in any way, and so he doesn’t understand why he is there and only becomes increasingly frustrated as the days pass.
My private room
It is actually from this seemingly indifferent uncaring generation that all the questions about the meaning of life will burst and which will open up the door to a world that is much deeper than the one we are used to. But until that happens, we have to explain to them what is happening to them, what the point of their development is, what they undergo and what their inability to satisfy themselves stems from. We also need to study a little more about life and the purpose of life in order to do so.
What is happening among the youth and also between us today is a natural phase of our development. The human ego is changing and this is the reason for the generation gap. It is the ego that makes us uncaring and indifferent, addicted to technology, closed inside our little shell, in our private room.
But this is only the intermediate phase, one stop along the process of our internal development. We didn’t come into this world in order to communicate through a keyboard or a touch screen, but in order to break through all the partitions that keep us apart, and to communicate from one heart to another on a dimension of feelings and mind that is beyond our corporeal reality.
From the Rav Laitman’s Article On YNet