One question that is posed to me on almost a daily basis is why do many young people exhibit characteristics of apathy and laziness? While reflecting on this I have pondered many possible explanations. These include being pampered, disinterested, and the environment of low expectations to name a few. It is possible that each of these holds some merit in trying to explain some of the problematic behavior that appears in some of our young people.
However, I have come to believe that the answer may not be as complicated as I first thought. Maybe many act like they don’t care because they don’t care! The more I talk to young people the more they tell me they can’t see the connection between school and sports performance and their future. Not only is this blurry but much of the material they are learning in school is not only irrelevant to them but often presented in a manner that does more to put them to sleep then to engage them in a pursuit of ongoing curiosity leading to enhanced living. I often wonder if there is some virtue in choosing disengagement, which is a form of rebellion, to compliance simply for the sake of doing what you’re supposed to. Where has that lead most of us?
For many this formula has lead to living an uninspired life stuck in jobs that we hate, marriages that are shallow and lifeless, and a life that is to be survived rather then savored. The survival strategies include but are not limited to alcohol abuse, food abuse, over spending, Internet addictions, and simply engaging in activity for the sake of distracting ourselves to avoid the realization that we are simply existing and not truly living. Sometimes, this internal dissatisfaction leads us to focus energy towards over controlling our kids telling them “we want them to avoid the pain that we currently live with by helping them see a better way”.
Inspiration and engagement comes by seeing and experiencing, not by words that are often hypocritical. If we truly want to SHAKE UP our kids maybe the way to do this is to begin to take pride in our own lives. Maybe if we cultivated an appetite for better living by challenging ourselves and those around us to overcome their fears of inadequacy, and heal from the disappointments of their lives, maybe our example would DRAW and ATTRACT those around us to become curious about the new found passion, inspiration, and courage that has now become an authentic expression of our everyday lives.
I believe that our kids are screaming for meaning, purpose, and inspiration. There is a hunger for examples that are credible because of the life they live not the rhetoric they spew to authentically lead our young people to engage in life in a new manner. Maybe our kids act like they don’t care because they don’t care. Why should they?
What do you think? Please let us know with your comments below!