If we read through magazines and watch television today, we are convinced to believe that something is happening among the young people in Bhutan which is quite difficult for people like us to understand. Older generations have worked very hard to build a society that we have today but the offspring want very little materially out of it. And despite a secured political and economic freedom, there are clear signs that many of our younger population are not very happy about it. And parents and adults wonder why.
The answer seemingly lies in widening generation gap in almost everything in everyday life. In fact news of drugs overdose and youth violence very often dominate our attention even if it sounds disturbing. But it has come. The difference between the generations in tastes, attitudes and habits has become a dividing factor. Adults prefer short hair, younger ones prefer long hair and sometimes with “mowark.” Generally adults enjoy soft and sweet music, younger ones want hard rock. Then there is also a difference in ambitions “desired” among the children and parents. Children want to ask bold questions about society which parents have no answer.
For once, the youths are showing the way to older generations to live. Youths have creative ideas and impulses and they can search for new ways of expressing themselves. People are no longer limited to one hairstyle or few choice of clothes. Youths are responsible for making our lives look modern.
But the issue today is that the freedom to live their own lives have confronted our youths a challenge. While the individuals are permitted to exercise their wills within broad limits, it also burdens them with more responsibility for their own emotional well-being than humans ever bore before. The fewer the rules, the greater the need to make one's own rules for the sake of an individual himself or herself. It is easier to make rules but harder to abide by self-imposed rules than by those imposed from above. Even if we give choices to make their own rules, they may not be able to determine what things to do and not to do for their own good.
So we lead a very complex lives and to have fulfilling lives within the complexity demands better judgment. And interestingly, judgment usually comes from experience. And here, youths are left in traps. There is a difficulty in separating real worth experiences from vested interests. So the youths land up throwing the whole idea as old fashioned ideas.It is like throwing away the baby with bathwater when we reject everything that the past holds for us.
But it is great to see that people are dressed in countless different colourful ways. Young people have made best use of the opportunity available for self-expression. But when we look closely, some element of sameness has also crept into the dress culture and language among the youths although they may look and talk differently than us. Well, they are all the more same among themselves.
Even within the sameness, there is a culture of individualism within the youths today. This is an encouraging trend because a groupism offer no place for sensitive and intelligent persons. Twenty-five hundred years of human experience, from Buddha’s times, tell us that in order to find happiness, people must first find themselves. Happiness can never be mass-produced. We cannot find it following a group.
However, a person's identity is not his alone; it is only complete when it is surrounded by loved ones and friends. Individualism is strength, so a true individualist is strong enough to tolerate the habits and opinions of people who differ from him. A true individualist respects the individuality of everyone else.
It is very difficult to find our own way. Most of us lose our way from time to time, straying down the wrong ways and climbing up blind walls. It could be quite tiring.
But we have one advantage of being young today. We have better chance to learn. There is a so much access to the accumulated wisdom of the world through books, mass media and instructions.
All the learning and advice that one can get helps us build our own opinions and behaviour pattern. The choices to be made by young people today can be dangerous sometimes. There are many more ways to make mistakes and get into trouble than at any time before.
So there is all the more reason for all young people to assert their own individuality and not to be herded into going for whatever is "trendzy!!! (thats what young people say!!!!) especially with lot of mind –bending ideas around. This applies to individual behaviour as wells as to ideas.