Talk of therapy and counselling seems to be more widespread these days, as young people are becoming much more open to the ideas of mental wellness and taking care of their own mental health. This has arguably resulted in most teenagers and young adults being more careful with each other’s well-being too. It is my opinion that young people are changing the world for the better, and it is this awareness of suffering, thriving and mental health that forms a foundation for those positive changes.
We have to admit that the younger generations have their fair share of cretins and malefactors who only have their own interests at heart, and who are willing to harm others to that end. The most prominent examples have to be those who are featured in the press, like the youths who were charged for their alleged involvement in a recent banking scam involving millions of dollars. On a smaller scale, all of us also know of students who harm or bully other students, sometimes to get their own sadistic thrills, and sometimes even to get a competitive edge over their peers. Still, it is my opinion that these young people have a less powerful effect than their more altruistic peers, with greater numbers of young people holding views of inclusivity rather than those of exclusion.
Many young people lean towards inclusivity perhaps because we believe, whether explicitly or implicitly, that it creates happier societies; this is seeing young people change the world for the better by pushing for more equality and fairness in multiple areas including in the economy, in the environment, and in education. This happens both in big and small ways, with some young people volunteering to provide tuition for students in need, and young climate activists demanding help for workers who inevitably get impacted by the economic vicissitudes of climate change. All of this is happening in the context of everyday teenagers and young adults understanding more carefully how we are suffering, and how we can care for ourselves, which results in us being more able to care for others and the world around us. While reports of increased mental health afflictions among youth may seem to indicate that the world is changing for the worse, I believe that it is exactly this awareness of suffering that motivates young people sustainably to act in concrete ways to change the world for the better.
Perhaps the strongest indication of young people’s inclusivity and positive effect on the world today is the widespread unacceptability of anything unjust, particularly in terms of how it is expressed on social media, which has a predominantly young user base. Many have decried cancel culture for its potentially damaging effects, even though part of what was happening was people facing the consequences of their actions. Now, there are clear signs of some pushback against elements of cancel culture that have damaging effects on the world; significantly, this pushback is sometimes being led by young people, whether on social media or in the press. These are all signs of how young people are perpetually pushing for positive change in the world today.
While young people are changing the world for the better, I think it is still true that there are still destructive forces that are roaming the earth today. It falls upon all of us, young and old, to see how we sometimes are destructive so that we can better take care of ourselves and other people. We may never reach a state of utopia — but all of us can try to build a better world each day of our lives.
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