Most people, youth notably have not or rather limited consciousness about what they want in life. Unfortunately, they’re rather drifting in and throughout their life. They are shaped by the social, political, and economic events of the day whose lives are saturated by high tech and notably social media. It means they spend less time with their friends and frequently even parents in person while at the same time they are hanging on social media whereby online content creates unrealistic and unhealthy expectations about their life. In other words, social media is creating an epidemic of anxious and depressed young people.
A young person is like fire. Nevertheless, with a proper parental direction and guidance, they can shape and change in better their life. Without it, this flame and fire is wasted at best, while at worst, they can become a dangerous, destructive force. To lead a meaningful life means harnessing the fires of youth; but first we must understand the purpose of youth itself.
The period of adolescence is nestled between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers are no longer content to play like children but don’t yet have the knowledge and experience to be fully engaged in adult pursuits. Youth is one of the most precious periods of a person’s life, and yet one of the most difficult.
What most young people are searching for is a meaningful cause. They are overflowing with a mixture of adrenaline and confidence On the other hand, their parents and adults are overwhelmed and burdened with the pressures of everyday life, convince themselves that the world just is the way it is, but young people cannot tolerate such resignation. This is the constant conflict between the two groups: young people and the status quo, while adults’ lives revolve around it.
Many adults simply write off the teenage years as a rebellious period that a person must simply outlast. Young people, meanwhile, often think that adults have forgotten how to appreciate the very meaning and thrill of life. Youths are rebellious, and adults see the rebellion as one step shy of a crime.
But rebellion is not the crime; the crime occurs when the rebellion has no healthy outlet. Rebellion, in fact, can be the healthiest thing for a human being — a pure energy that inspires a person to not give up easily, to refuse to tolerate injustice, to not go along with an idea just because everyone else is thinking it. The worst thing we can do with a young person’s spiritual or psychological energy is to bottle it up; in fact, we must do everything we can to tap this energy, to focus it, and channel it properly.
To satisfy the needs of teenagers in today’s society, we must first recognize that their restlessness and hunger for meaning is not material but spiritual in nature, and that only spirituality can feed spiritual hunger.
To fight a spiritual war, they must be equipped with spiritual weapons. No matter how far a young person has wandered, he has a soul and a distinct mission from G-d. This is the first lesson that young people must learn — that their lives include a higher purpose, that they must use their youthful energy for good and moral purposes.
The fire of youth must be used not just to build careers but to build homes and communities based on love and giving. It is the responsibility of adults to provide young people with a blueprint, a spiritual guide to life which consists of Goodly words and instructions of how to best lead a life with purpose and meaning.
Hence, it would be desirable to say to our sons and daughters that they are as alive as fire and if they complement their flame of youth with a sense of focus and urgency, they will gain the power to move the mountain.
Dear reader, when was the last time you had someone that you were able to have a heart-to-heart talk with about the real issues of life? A talk about your personal issues, about our place in the world and what we are supposed to do with our lives. A talk that honestly looked at pain and failure.
It is of crucial importance to find someone who you can talk to, a mentor to trust, who will appreciate your strengths and potential and can help motivate you to achieve your dreams. Nevertheless, for such communication to be effective, it must be sincere and it must be regular rather than only superficial and tackled only in ‘crisis time’. Instead of only relaxing all weekend, designate an hour or two just to speak or take a walk together. Talk about values, about the difficult decisions that any young person must face. Talk about G-d, about morality, about how pure intellect is limited unless it is supported by a system of higher values. Talk about charity, about selflessness, about why we are here and where we are headed.
Last but not least, we should never aim to extinguish the fires of youth but rather constantly encourage them as the most precious natural resource we are having.