Thursday, 15 May 2014

Questions and ponderings

How do we expect our young people to be global thinkers and global citizens and yet not expect them to become overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems our world presents to them? We have so much information available to us now at the touch of a button, about everything under the sun...yet we have so few answers to the big questions that kids ask.

How do we explain to kids that it's not okay to cheat and lie and yet they see every day that the people in the places high up...the politicians, the corporations, the rich...seem to have gotten to those high places by doing just that. 

How can we expect kids to take it all seriously? To want to do well. To want to work hard...when they can see that so much is being done just to make life tougher for them? And that growing up in a particular place almost certainly determines that they will remain at the bottom of the heap (apart from a celebrated few that 'make it' regardless). How can we expect kids not to be angry? Or frustrated...with the lack of options...the lack of a future worth looking to?

How can we expect kids to respect other people's belongings and property if we show them so little can we expect kids to stay alive on no income...or on low, low income and paying rent...without stealing to make ends meet? How can we expect a starving, homeless young person not to do something to feed themselves. If we don't have a job for them, what other options do they have?

How are you going to feel safe with your money and your worldly goods if there are so many more people living on the edge? How can we expect society to be safe and secure if some people have so much and some so little. Somehow those with much feel better and more worthy than those with nothing. It's a false sense of security I suggest. Sooner or later it all has to come crashing down. 

I'm not saying that everyone should be poor. I'm saying that no-one should be poor. World-wide we have resources enough for everyone. I can't answer questions about population growth and resource depletion, but I do know that having most of the resources in the hands of the few is not going to have a good outcome in the long term. I'm saying that maybe we need a few more people to see what's happening and to stand up and say 'Enough!'

We have two income families who are saving for lovely holidays and new cars...and zero income families struggling to feed themselves. I'm asking the two income families who are working just for the extras...the finer things in think about how they impact on the rest of the community. I know you work hard and you deserve lovely things...but what is the cost to others? I know a lot of two income families are just making ends meet and I don't mean to judge anyone, but simply to ask...would you give up your job that is just for the luxuries of that someone who has no job might have it? Or would you criticize the one who has no job while you live your stylish and comfortable life, well-regarded for having so much.

I really think these are questions we need to start asking ourselves. If you have young people in your neighbourhood that can't get a job to get a start in life, yet you have two cars and two houses and go overseas for holidays every year...can you see that perhaps the young person isn't the problem here. I wonder if we need to start thinking more about how our actions affect our communities and especially our young people. Perhaps we could expect more from them if they knew there were going to be jobs and that they'd have to be respectful and respectable to get them. Right now, many of them are so sure they won't get employment that there is no motivation to care about what others think about them.

Older working people may have such a huge advantage in applying for jobs as they usually have experience, wider social networks, and a 'good' work ethic. They were raised in the era of working to get...a house, a car, anything you wanted if you worked hard enough. Young people are often socially awkward, have less social capital and have less motivation as they have no real faith in the future. It's tough and it seems that it's just going to get tougher. I wonder what might be possible if we all pulled back just a little bit on the good life...could we create a better world for our kids? I wonder if they would feel more like they could do okay in life if we were happier with less and showed them that they could be too

I haven't got answers...just questions and ponderings. I'm sure there will be plenty out there that will disagree with me. Let me know what you think...maybe you have some answers.

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