The World Youth Essay Competition, or WYEC, is an international competition for high school and university students. As a writer, I thought it would be nice to send an entry and I have also decided to share my work for posterity. Although it’s not the best of my writing, it captures a hint of how I see my country’s youth.
Children, often at a young age, are told that they are their country’s future. Although, the thought being presented in that mindset is not exactly fully realized in the heads of these young boy and girls, yet they feel honored and special that they are seen by adults as such. That idea further solidifies throughout their primary years, where educators introduce them to the different professions and then they, too, would want to be a doctor, nurse, fireman, and the like. But as time goes on, the idea of being the “country’s future” starts to get a little blurry.
Along with being the country’s future, young people are often taught that contributions to the community are necessary. In the Philippine setting, these youngsters are incentivized to participate in activities and events within their schools that have something to do with the community by means of additional grades, awards and similar achievements. As schools further give rewards to the young people for them to be engaged in participation, the thought of young people becoming the country’s future has somehow become mandatory. In the process, adults mold a new generation of future leaders that act when incentivized and that mindset is dangerous.
Instead of molding future leaders and community builders, generations of apathetic youngsters are born who will create a harsh environment born out of cynicism, distrust, lack of loyalty and emotion. There are an immense number of youth organizations who strive to contribute to the community but, at the end, get too caught up with internal conflict caused by negative influences coming from their adult moderators. These conflicts and influences perpetuate an endless cycle of generations who contribute nothing but negativity to the societies in which they will be leading in the future.
However, let us not focus on these external influences to the youth; but rather, let the youth understand on their own of the concepts that are crucial to forging better communities and societies. The values of service, empathy, compassion, love for peace and similar attributes should not only be taught but understand by the young people. Not only do we create a young generation that is fed the idea that “you are the country’s future” but rather, let us create a new generation that is aware of the concepts of empathy, service and compassion.
Break the shackles of digital age technology and experience the world beyond the screen or textbook. The world is not a combination of ones and zeroes but rather; a collective group of individual people attributed with different personalities, dreams, ambitions and ideas. We should not put down our fellow men but uplift them so that they may assist us in creating a better place we sought to live for and for the generations to come after us.
A world made up of men and women filled with compassion, empathy, peace and kindness – a simple ideal but impossible to accomplish. However, if we set ourselves right and be the shinning beacon of hopes for our country’s future, then no obstacle is too great to be removed. In the end, we have to realize that we, the youth, are our country’s future because we bring something new to the table.
Thanks for reading this essay. Wish me luck and you can share some thoughts in the comments below.