Rummaging Through the Files

I was rummaging through my papers — workshop modules, talks and speeches and other miscellaneous stuff. I sat and read some of them and thought I should share a couple of those speeches.

Here is one that I delivered in 2010 -12 years ago, minus the stories, anecdotes and a few examples basically to keep the word count down for the blog.

The topic was: New Generation — ‘Future of youth in the country’ — Way to go forward

“The topic given to me is very interesting. It has 3 parts to it.

  1. New Generation
  2. Future of youth in the country
  3. Way to go forward

Let us start with the term ‘New Generation’. I was curious about the word — GENERATION and so looked it up in the dictionary which defines it as — “the average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring” — about 30 years. By those standards — I lived in my generation, my son’s generation and now have begun to live in my grandchildren’s generation.

What is the difference between the old generation and the new generation — the youth of today?

I believe that life is much better for the youth of today — and I am talking about the middle class, upper middle class and the affluent.

Look around you and there are opportunities, even if we consider just 3 areas

  1. Money Power — There is more money power at one’s disposal (of course which can be used or abused) With money power there are choices which can be considered whether it is in the choice of branded material, going to the west to study and work and / or reaching out to others.
  2. Technology — I don’t need to elaborate. You are the generation born in the age of technology and can definitely teach me a thing or ten. Just one example — Many in this room and I for definite grew up in homes with no telephone. Today it is difficult to keep count of the number of telephones in a home between landlines and mobiles. And with technology the world is one big village.
  3. Education — To the class of people I have been talking about — education is accessible and affordable whether we talk about school, college or even foreign education.

Let us move on to the 2nd part of the topic which is ‘The future of youth in the country.’ I am going to concentrate on the country because in my mind it is difficult to separate the two — when the country progresses, there is a future. However, we need to analyse and see who it is that really has a future.

What is great about our country?

I hope you will agree with me when I say, that the greatest blessing we have is our Vibrant Democracy and with it the gift of FREEDOM.

We can rant and rave about the problems we face, the corruption, and the poor governance and so on.

And yet, I will not trade my freedom for anything.

Also, our country is now truly on the world map for its growing economy. We are no longer known for elephants and tigers roaming our streets. We are recognized and we have arrived.

And of course we have made great strides in technology. Indians are sought after in the job market due to the knowledge base that we have.

We have many other areas of growth; however, I think we need to look at the other side of the coin.

What AILS our country?

In my order of priorities, it would be –

Elitism — Elitist homes, elitist schools and colleges, elitist clothes and accessories, elitist clubs, restaurants and what have you — including the elite who try to subvert our Freedom and our Judiciary.

Some of you would have heard of the famous ‘Nanda Hit and Run’ case where the accused and his infamous lawyer tried to bribe the witnesses and the prosecution advocate. (There are many more similar cases)

This elitism has created and continues to create a bigger and bigger gap between the haves and the have nots. A new type of caste system is coming in place in addition to the ones we already have had for generations.

Let me share with you an incident narrated to me by a teacher. She was teaching about the caste system to 6th graders. A student asked her if she believed in the caste system. The question troubled the teacher because at the core of her heart she believed in the caste system.

Question to consider: What are my beliefs and values?

Education — Second on my list is Education. 63 years of independence and we still have millions of children not in school. I think that, one of the more serious mistakes made by the government was to spend on and create institutions like the IIT’s at the cost of primary education. Let me hasten to add that I am not against the IIT’s, however at the same time government could have focussed equally — if not more — on building Primary schools making literacy and numeracy available to all.

Healthcare — The third area is Healthcare. Do you read the contrasts in the newspaper? India is opening up for Medical Tourism — highlights of achievements are there to read.

At the other end are stories of overcrowding in government hospitals and overworked doctors and poor care or no care in the rural areas. Healthcare should become affordable, accessible and available to the population that really needs it.

As a career counsellor, I often hear people say that job opportunities are poor for doctors — can it ever be true in a country like ours with over a billion population?

What then is the way to go forward?

Let us go back to the statement ‘Future of Youth in the Country’.

There is a great future for the Youth if they would understand the needs of the country — the two complement each other.

So what will you do?

I am reading a book entitled the other 90% by Robert K Cooper. In the introduction he talks about his grandfather Hugh Cooper Sr. He had been a surveyor, a minister, a teacher and school superintendent. On his desk was a small frame with the words ‘Give the World the best you have and the best will come back to you’.

What would that mean to most of us?

It would probably be to do one’s best at one’s job and the best will come back!

Can it be interpreted differently?

  • To people who keep going when others quit.
  • To someone who finds ways to do what everyone else thinks cannot be done.
  • To people who have reached deep within and find something more — the choice to make a difference.

That is the choice that each one of us has — the choice to make a difference.

Keep finding more every day to give to the world — it will come back in many ways.

Let me leave you with a few favourite quotations –

Martin Luther King Jr: ‘I have a dream’………

How many of us can say that?

Mahatma Gandhiji: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’

Can it get more direct than that?

And to end with Nelson Mandela: ‘There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’

As I had said at the start of the blog. The above speech was delivered 12 years ago. Is there a change in the last 12 years? For better or for worse?

Teacher’s Day is fast approaching and I would like to share a quote that I recently read in an article: “No I am not a superhero; I am something even more powerful. I am a teacher. I don’t need a cape because I am lifted up by the amazing and inspiring kids I teach.” — Annonymous

Happy Teachers Day!

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Phyllis Farias

Educational Consultant with 2 passions in life: the Child — from toddler to adolescent, and Education — education philosophy and psychology