With 65% of our country’s population below the age of 35, we all boast about how young we are as a nation and about empowering our youth to bring out any social change. But we need to realise the real idea behind the word ‘Empowerment’. Youth empowerment is not just about creating good opportunities and different fields for today’s youth or by providing them with resources. It is also about making them realise their innate potential, capabilities as well as qualities and then supporting them financially, emotionally and psychologically on each and every aspect.
For instance, we all crib, complain and sigh about our country’s poor performance in Olympics everytime, for not securing enough medals. I just want to ask one simple question, that how many from us would be ready to support our children, siblings or relatives and friends if they come out openly and want to pursue sports as a profession. The problem is that we all want to flaunt Gold medals but don’t want to work hard to achieve it. Everytime there are high expectations from our players only during Olympics or World Championships. But what are we doing rest of the time? Nobody talks about them after the tournaments. We remember our players only during tournaments and forget that they need constant motivation, support, financial assistance and training.
Hence we really need to defy all the conventional notions of our bookish education system and should stop restricting and confining ourselves with the traditional curriculum which has become a set mindset.
The rat race of just acquiring a valid college degree as a justification for proving oneself or as a symbol of self-esteem or self-validation must stop. There has always been a long-running debate on educational reforms in our country and how to make education more student-friendly, but our policies and methodologies have failed to analyse the mindset of youth and what they exactly want from the system.
It’s high time to realise the importance of Extra Curricular Activities (ECAs) and Sports and considering them as a career alternative too. With universities and many reputed colleges now giving admission to students through ECA and Sports Quota, why we are lagging behind in considering them as career options? It’s totally cool if a child wants to be a dancer, a stand-up comedian, a photographer, an actor, a singer, a sportsman or any other profession he or she wants to pursue. If we can applaud kids on TV reality shows and movies then we should also be fine with our children opting for the same.
Albert Einstein once said that “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Hence the time has come to not just look at this as a decorated quote but to actually understand it’s meaning and implement it in real life.
Learning must be experimental and practical which inculcates the skills of questioning, scrutinising and contemplating about our actions, decisions and experiences. This results in a discovery-led mindset that helps students effectively navigate and deal with uncertain conditions that may be lying ahead of them in life.
Constantly comparing youngsters or their performances with their fellow mates will not only crush their self-confidence and esteem but will also make them too self-critical and demoralised. What they only need is a little compassion, belief, trust and support from their family. At times of failure, they need proper healing, moral support, and counselling rather than a cold and harsh treatment. Criticism like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a person’s growth without destroying his roots.
When we allow the youth to take their own decisions, fix their responsibilities for their actions and give them the freedom to express their views and opinions, then they achieve unexpected wonders in life, which we would have never even imagined.