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Why The Voice of The Youth Matters Now More Than Ever, And Why We Need To Listen
Why The Voice of The Youth Matters Now More Than Ever, And Why We Need To Listen
Youth | November 12, 2020
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I assume it has been several years since I thought myself part of the word youth. The signs have been telling—I was approaching my mid-30s, I had an aversion and inability to cope with the advancements of social media, and, the funniest and probably most glaring, is how my zillennial officemates consider me a grandpa or lolo at work (something I take as a compliment more than an insult, as they are all adorable “grandchildren” if you ask me). And as I continue to be amused, shocked, or even bewildered by their behavior, I remain scientific in my approach when I note my observations. There is much to be learned, even as a corporate lolo.

Their Digital Savvy Is A Gift That Should Not Be Feared

One of my favorite stories about my experiences working with zillennials is how a couple of years ago, I took a solo trip to Cebu for Lifestyle Asia. Back then, I had just reopened my Instagram account and was still acclimatizing to the multi-functional platform. I did not have a photographer or a social media associate with me. Our digital team then gave me a comprehensive lesson on using each function, which immensely helped me on my way.

This is something we should learn to be accustomed to. The ever-evolving digital landscape is an environment younger generations have adapted to grow with, and this should be viewed as a source of encouraging guidance in educating ourselves. As we continue to fight fake news and misinformation, their expertise in digital platforms serves as an agent of positive transformation to combat its evils (predominantly initiated by older generations). As adults, our clout, power, and experience gained through our years will be enriched by this modern knowledge—we should learn to accept and normalize that our age does not equate to correctness or wisdom in all aspects.

Being perpetually online doesn’t always equate to vanity, consider their need to be connected and informed. | Image by Afif Kusuma

Their Sensitivity To Global And Local Issues Should Be Celebrated

Thanks to new-age connectivity, an acquaintance halfway around the world is an email or message away. And this has, in turn, made global events visible to everyone. We have closely followed the US elections from our laptops, read about the protests in Nigeria from our mobile phones, and viewed memes about our own government from the internet. The ever-connected youth pays attention—they are invested and absorb all information as a part of their global consciousness.

We should be more encouraging. I remember the young students from St. Scholastica’s College holding protest signs and crying out messages and feeling moved by how the minds of our youth are so in touch with social issues. It teaches the lesson that age is not an excuse for ignorance, and this will aid them in being more accepting of knowledge and learning in the future. This also reminds us that the entire span of our life is a never-ending learning experience that we should embrace and cherish no matter what age we are.

The global consciousness is a sign that they do care about the future generations unlike many of our forefathers did. | Image by Markus Spiske

Their Drive For Change Should Be Encouraged, Promoted, And Assisted

This brings us to our next item, how do we, as older members of society, aid their brilliant ideas? How many of us were brought up to be told that we will never be astronauts, pilots, movie stars, or even mermaids? Whether you are a parent or not, your position is respected and perceived as authority by the youth. Your words and actions may or may not be imitated and considered acceptable (I myself have grown to think of many adults as people I refuse to grow up to be). If your dreams were crushed then, avoid the cycle by being more encouraging.

We should be patient with their thoughts. We should accept that we may differ in point of view. And if we disagree, there is no use in imposing dominance by asserting it. Instead, we should promote change via education on both them and ourselves. And while there are many things that we are better at (skills and knowledge gained by vast amounts of experience, among other things), they also have experiences that will be new to us. Lend an ear, offer a hand.

Listen with an open mind and heart and don’t let your pre-conceived superiority blind you from their wisdom. | Image by Cottonbro

Their Actions Now Have More Significant Impact in the Future

Now, why should we lend an ear? Because if you remember all the angsty characters of the comic books you once read as a child, and remember how many grew rebellious by nature due to grudges held on distant parenthood and lack of guidance, you realize you do not want your children to grow up villains, resentful of society. The thoughts and feelings they harbor grow as ideas and develop into action the more they can move in the environments they live in. Enable them to understand that this growing power is something they should wield with responsibility and accountability (even if countless adults serve as bad examples).

It has been forever said how the youth are the future of nations: your future doctors, lawyers, and good Lord, politicians. Our job is to ingrain integrity in their thoughts, show examples of kindness, and be models of humility. It is in this way that we make essential values the core development guidelines of their upbringing as they become tastemakers and game-changers.

The culmination of all their experiences will be the changes that will happen in the years to come. | Image by David Florin

Like You, They Are Trying To Understand Other Generations

As I have always said in talks and functions, communication is a two-way process necessary in the grand scheme of things. And with all the studies, journals, and reports we make about age gaps and generations, they have referenced horoscopes, online tests, and compatibility references to understand other people. Do not claim our methods superior to theirs. Their emotionally-driven knowledge earns points in empathy and feeling.

Process our differences and acknowledge that perhaps our continued perplexity towards TikTok dances and selfies are matched by their confusion with our aversions in an age of openness. Maybe it’s high time we make the mentor-student relationship an equal opportunity, and placing one’s self on one role does not mean dominance over the other. Instead, it is the much-needed bridge in finding solutions to make the world and our status quo better.

At the end of the day, open communication will bridge generations and shape a world that recognizes its history and hopes for a better future. | Image by Andrea Piacquadio

As the growing surge of calamities, issues, and disturbances rock our country, let us practice empathy. Understand how privilege works in terms of experiences and resources. Utilize each strength in helping one another. Let generation not be a barrier for solution-finding but be conduits of knowledge. Recognize leadership of all ages and make your assistance a valuable asset in the necessity for relief. And as we listen to the voices of our youth, from their cries of help to their demands for change, let us be constantly reminded that we were once young. And whether we were heard or not, we remain drivers of change too. Only this time, our work grows bigger—that while we strive to undo the mistakes of the past, we groom the youth to be better at what we are doing in the present. Young or old, we are in this together. Stay safe, and help each other.

As Ulysses continues its damaging effects on the country, we at OneMega.com remain vigilant and hopeful many of us remain safe and dry, and that we will get through this together as one nation. For those who need assistance here are the numbers you can call:

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With journalistic experience spanning just about three years, Pipo has been working in the communications industry for nearly a decade with tenure in various sectors such as global communications, retail, advertising, events, and marketing. He has served as Copy Chief and Newsroom Head for One Mega Group, and for the last couple of years, has been Lifestyle Asia's Managing Editor for its print publication.
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