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.
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.
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.