A school principal in a school recently quoted that “Too many of today’s children have straight teeth and crooked morals.” Most people also tend to generalize when they say that the youth of today are the get rich quick generation and will do anything to achieve success.
However, I am afraid that whatever is being said by whoever about the youth is far from the truth. I conduct several workshops in schools, colleges, B-schools through our program moJOsh Inspirator life, leadership and learning2learn lessons for a happy, holistically-healthy and humane life. I work closely with students (and their parents/ teachers) to help them FIND THEIR CALLING and PURSUE A LIFE OF PURPOSE, CHARACTER AND CONTRIBUTION. I am also a father to 2 boys (14 and 7) who have amazing social responsibility. Thus, I know that the youth has a strong sense of RIGHT and WRONG and have high ideals to champion change.
I CALL IT KIDPOWER (and I say this word with huge respect for their power to make a difference) and students in India have amazing talent and huge aspirations for making a difference. So, let us not be preachy with them especially when we as grown-ups cannot set high ideals for them.
Although children have huge idealism, they are torn between their own choices and the forced ambitions of their parents, whose idea of success is FAME AND FORTUNE. I am often told by students that they are coerced to choose a professional course so that they have a good career and money for a bright-future.
Circa-2012, a Pharma company retained me for THE-HERO-IN-ME inspirational Talks-Workshops for 3000 children of Doctors across India. While working with some children and parents in Bombay, a 14-year-old was extremely anxious, aloof and aggressive. I befriended him and learned that he wanted to become doctor and serve in rural India. However, his parents (prosperous-practicing-surgeons) were forcing him to study in USA and build a flourishing career there. This was causing conflict for the child. At his request, I addressed his concerns with his parents. They told me they were doing what’s best for him and wish to see him happy and highly-successful (success meant career-growth, wealth and reputation).
I said to them “compared to your son’s thoughts, your thinking seems shallow”. I further added “One achieves success in any field when one is doing what one loves and wants to do”. I told them their son inspired me and they should be proud of their son who has high ideals and human values, which have inspired him to pursue a passion where he does something that he loves every day and makes a difference in our world.
After 2 years I received a call from the boy who now stays in touch through mail, calls and messages. Today the parents and child are on the same page, share more warmth in the relationship and have become very close. 7 years later, our young-leader is walking the path less trodden with his parents’ blessings, and will soon be a doctor who will make a positive-contribution and huge difference in our society. Watch this space for updates on my young-friend.
Ideas-for-Action: Most parents have reduced education to a career, rich-lifestyle and fancy-car and make children into career-coolies who just climb the ladder, but have little impact or innovation to showcase. Success is not just about career-climbing, fame and fortune, but about INSPIRING SOLID CHARACTER as CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE by creating POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS, INNOVATION & IMPACT. Now that’s SUCCESS and HAPPINESS. Teach Children to learn more, be more, do more, grow more and LIVE more.
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