By SANDY CLARKE
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
The words are often ascribed to Socrates – the Greek philosopher who lived around 2,500 years ago.
Whether the words were said by him or not is irrelevant. Throughout the ages, older generations have consistently looked upon the youth as being inferior in many ways to their predecessors.
When I was a lad, a popular phrase was that, “Children should be seen and not heard”, seemed fairly harsh since children rarely lack imagination and can often come up with surprisingly good suggestions and ideas when tackling problems.
Watching my five nephews growing up, it was interesting to see one common trait that adults can certainly embrace: whenever a problem presented itself, young people tend to dwell much less on the actual problem and instead set about looking for possible solutions.
Some of the major advances in technology and social progress were driven by young people, some of whom have greatly impacted the world with their ideas. When we focus on age as a determining factor of a person’s worth, we miss the point of the famous saying,
It’s not the years of experience, but the experience in the years that count.
Another impressive quality young people possess – from millennials onward – is the fearlessness in taking ownership of whatever cause they care about. Many young people have refused to wait around for “someone” to take a particular course of action, choosing instead to become that someone, themselves.
Traditionally, young people have been looked upon as having not much use for society until they reach a certain age and level of experience. In truth, generations are well placed to learn from each other, with every generation having something to offer.
Thankfully, this attitude is on the way out, thanks to increasing evidence that shows the value of young people and the significant, valuable contributions they continue to offer to the world.
3 life lessons from millennials
1. They’re not afraid to take (calculated) risks
For many baby boomers, their life path was linear: expectations were set and deviation from the path was seen as potentially ruinous.
While careful planning can be important, taking risks now and then can open us up to new and exciting opportunities that we might have otherwise missed.
2. Being vulnerable isn’t just OK – it can actually improve emotional health
Millennials are generally more comfortable with sharing their thoughts and feelings than previous generations. The ability to be expressive has several benefits, not least of, when it comes to emotional health.
Knowing and expressing what you feel is not a weakness – but suppressing feelings literally can be, both psychologically and physiologically.
3. They don’t wait until retirement to enjoy life
My nephew does quite a bit of travelling (he even pays for it himself) and his experiences will likely teach him so much more than conventional learning.
Millennials have learned that working-till-you-drop in the hope of having a few years to enjoy life is, at best, highly questionable. We live life now – surely this is when we should enjoy it? Being able to pay bills, being happy, and experiencing the world don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
3 inspirational and influential rising stars
1. Olivia Hallisey
The Connecticut high school student invented a new way to test for the Ebola virus that doesn’t require refrigeration or electricity – a huge boon for the rural areas that have been most affected by the epidemic. Although it will require real-world trials before getting deployed, it won top honours at the Google Science Fair, a testament to its life-saving potential.
2. William Turton
While most high school students are struggling to write their college admission essays, Turton is breaking cyber-security news for The Daily Dot, a website that covers news about Internet culture.
Turton started writing video game reviews at 14, and has said he’d rather spend his free time cultivating sources than going to school dances. His diligence has paid off — he’s nabbed scoops about Uber and the first interview with the Lizard Squad hacking collective behind the PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live breach.
This summer, he broke news of cyber-attacks on the websites of Planned Parenthood and New York Magazine, which he stayed up all night to report out during an internship at The Daily Dot’s New York City office.
3. Ahmed Mohamed
Not many people make national news by bringing a homemade clock to school. But the ninth grader’s arrest, after teachers and authorities mistook the said clock for a bomb, kicked off a national debate over racial profiling – and an outpouring of support for Mohamed, who was personally invited to the White House by former US president Barrack Obama (who called his clock “cool”).
In October, he accepted a full scholarship to a prestigious school in Qatar.
(Source: time.com, 2015; images from Youtube)
Sandy is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.