I stumbled upon this post referencing new initiatives around youth engagement and tolerance in the UAE. Having spent a little time in Doha and Haifa myself, having had students from China, Libya, Qatar, Mexico, Russia, the USA and Canada… and as an educator by expertise, experience and wiring…. I am fully aware that youth are not the future, but the present shaping it. I am also aware that youth are youth, regardless of geography or history or generation. Those of us seemingly beyond our youth often forget this.
Forgetting this can create gaps of concern. A lack of real engagement of youth can be perilous in terms of apathy, injustice, rebellion and violence. It can lead to slow or quick deaths of cultures, locally and globally. Losing youth in school, in community and in our companies can, at best, diminish productivity and, at worst, cause serious socio-economic issues.
That all being said, I post this link and this short post of my own to start to help forge thoughts around how we better engage youth, going forward. Assimilating them into what we think should be the real world, based on our experience, is not the answer… in my experience and opinion. More of the same is not the answer. Our work with youth tells me that we as schools, companies and communities need to re-assess how we approach engaging youth as students, volunteers and employees… and as citizens; not so they fill our shoes, but actually help create a better and working world.
My earned sense is that youth are disengaged because they see how the systems that now exist, do not really work. Period. Politics, government and more are in question; and rightly so. We truly need to approach youth engagement not as some way to process youth into the reality that we have built… but as a way to bring their zeal and wisdom into the process of building a better reality. They see things differently and we need that, more than ever.
Given our own work, and given our continuing exploration of virtue and character, we will be examining youth engagement with the character lens. If you are in education, community development, or business… you might want to join us along the way. And we will be posting to two of our LINKEDIN groups as we do. Engaging Youth, Leadership and Education and Building Character, Culture and Leadership Excellence. We invite you to join with us.
The future is now.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™