Society Shaping the Youth by Maliha Zafar
Society Shaping the Youth
Toddlers running around ready to explore the world, intrigued by each and everything they come across, fascinated by the sounds they hear, seeking pleasure in the fleeting moments; they are embarked on a quest to conquer the world in their own capacities and at their own momentum. They are driven by the force of Nature, fear never resides in them, all they are aware of is to strive, rise up after every fall, not joining the broken pieces but retreating from them, expressing without the fear of being judged, running after butterflies, not to make them captives but to be fascinated by their hues and fearless plight. But this journey of self-exploration does not last for long, as we push them into boxes, to shape them into perfect squares, well fit for the society, a mere building block suitable for someone else’s construction.
Nature creates every child in its utmost perfection, but the parents, education systems, and society at large play their implausible role, piece by piece chiseling perfection out of the tiny being, something so alien to their own existence. The society upholding the painted masks of virtues for youngsters is just a deception, a painted veil of deceit, the muffled voices of ambiguities.
The soul created out of purity is stained so artfully, the moral degeneration infused to ensure social rampant, the art of manipulation etches deceit as diplomacy, humility as vanity, and compassion as indifference; and man stands triumphant unaware of his fall. The new norms of the society: deceit, vanity and indifference are exemplified with such willful zealousness, that with each generation carries these as traditions, unaware of the ethical decadence. Art of manipulation hasn’t left any stone upturned, relationships, religious faith, education are all becoming avenues of deception; questioning, logic and reasoning eliminated gently from the early academic years of education, leave behind curriculum to manufacture prototype individuals who fail to critically think and decide with the righteousness of heart.
Youth violence statistics are rising globally; these acts of violence ranging from bullying, physical fighting to more severe sexual and physical assault, and homicide. These hideous acts are committed in educational vicinities, streets and homes.
According to WHO (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/youth-violence):
- Worldwide some 200,000 homicides occur among youth 10–29 years of age each year, which is 42% of the total number of homicides globally each year.
- Homicide is the fourth leading cause of death in people aged 10–29 years, and 84% of these homicides involve male victims.
- For each young person killed, many more sustain injuries requiring hospital treatment.
- In one study, from 3–24% of women report that their first sexual experience was forced.
These behavioral issues are not the character traits children are born with rather inculcated by the social environment. Parents at large are to be blamed, as the early years of a child play the most crucial part in seeding behavioral disorders. Poor monitoring and supervision of children by the parents, harsh or inconsistent disciplinary practices by the parents and educational institutions; parental verbal or physical abuse, parental conflicts, and community practices all play detrimental effects on behavioral development.
Educational systems and standardized testing modules play a crucial role in shaping the personality of a child. Nothing can be more damaging for a child to be labeled by primary and secondary education systems as ‘U’ & ‘F’ graders, ‘underachievers’, ‘weak students’ etc. No matter how softly or gently they give this statement about a child, the educationists cast a shadow over their innumerable undiscovered and unpatronized potential possessed by that child. It is easy for them to label a child weak or underachiever than to accept their failure in providing an environment suitable for that child. Educational systems categorize children by numbers instead of their individualistic potentials. A child is never weak, it is the educational system that fails to recognize the needs of that child. The standardized testing focuses only on the hard skills, completely undermining the soft skills.
The development of soft skills has never been a priority of school systems, as their priority lies in ensuring the students’ success in standardized testing; however, the success in professional life is far more dependent on soft skills, that are deeply rooted in the ethical and progressive norms of humanity; moreover ensures lifelong progressive behaviors among individuals.
1. Analytical thinking and innovation
2. Complex problem-solving
3. Critical thinking and analysis
4. Active learning and learning strategies
5. Creativity and originality
6. Attention to detail, trustworthiness
7. Emotional intelligence
8. Reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation
9. Leadership and social influence
10. Coordination and time management
The educational systems and parents are engrossed in the deceptive measuring systems, asking every child to climb a tree whether he is manifested with the ability to do so or not; and little do they work on developing the said soft skills in the pursuit of academic grades. As a result increasing numbers of young individuals now roam on the streets lacking in communicative skills, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, and assertiveness. The parents, educationists, and above all, the educational system, fail to administer the truth that the present educational systems can neither promise a secure flourishing career nor generate creative elements required for today’s changing world. It is time for every parent to step out of the mist and see the missing elements in their child’s education, the development of soft skills in the early years of education is an assurance towards a dynamic future, with the ability to articulate one’s thoughts, compassionate collaboration towards nation-building, inculcation of responsible behavior towards one’s existence and society, and a constant endeavoring of creative pursuits.
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