kids

How to build stronger kids. We need them.

Much of the media today has zoomed in on the rising rate of anxiety and depression with our children and young people in the Western world (referred to as the minority world). But it has failed to show us the contrast with the children from the majority of the world. Children from majority world countries often have to battle with their very existence resulting in the need to strive towards opportunities and these children and youth appear to have a different set of mental health issues, which don’t include anxiety and depression.

"Children from majority world countries often have to battle with their very existence." via iStock

In the minority world (kids in Australia), it seems that we have a softer, more nurtured but less resilient generation. It has even been said that we have bred a generation of complacent youth as they have not had the struggle or been exposed to the difficulties that the youth in the majority world have. The phenomena is referred to as the “Great Australian complacency of the 21st century”.

Complacency can often appear as low motivation, lack of passion or drive and a lack of grit or determination that comes with striving for better and greater things. The symptoms resemble depression, and can have a profound effect on life satisfaction. It can also lead to less developed skills for life which can lead to a sense of being ill equipped for the inevitable set of struggles that eventually hit each individual as they go through life. It is a great concern that we may have an emerging generation of complacent youth which could lead to a nation of less compassionate, self-righteous and self-serving individuals. This would mean that the next generation would not be switched on to social issues, and justice, and also the egalitarian values of this country. It would leave us wide open to the manipulation of other countries for financial and economic control.

"Complacency can often appear as low motivation, lack of passion or drive and a lack of grit or determination". via iStock.

As parents, youth leaders, community workers, and people who are interested in the moral development of our children, it is vitally important that we expose our children to justice, social issues and moral dilemmas. The future resilience of Australia depends on this.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The symptoms resemble depression, and can have a profound effect on life satisfaction." via iStock.

One of the best ways to expose children to social issues is to live amongst poverty, rub shoulders with others as they struggle and share resources to build each other up. However, for many parents, going to voluntary poverty is not really an option so the next best thing is to expose the children to communities who care, actively involve themselves with moral justice, debate the moral dilemmas that arise and take action as a result. This creates a learning ground for moral development. Ideally families and parents who emerge themselves in these communities can raise the next generation of youth to be compassionate leaders who are motivated to the success of a nation with a moral compass.

What if we could prompt the development of our youth towards compassion, shared responsibility and communities of care leading to a country characterised by moral justice?

Lyn Worsley is the director of The Resilience Centre. As a Clinical Psychologist and Registered Nurse, she has vast experience in teaching, youth work, early childhood, hospitals and correctional services, and is the author of “The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Kids” and “The Resilience Doughnut Book – The Secret of Strong Adults”. Lyn will be speaking at The BEYOND Festival, in Canberra over the October long weekend, which aims to create an environment where families and communities can wrestle with the issues, debate the dilemmas and share ideas of compassion. It invites youth to come out of their parent’s basements and be active in their communities.  

00:00 / ???