Young hearts in place
Many kids from the ‘I want it now!' generation do want to make a difference but don't know how, writes Meher Marfatia.Updated: Jun 09, 2008 16:11 IST
There's more to the young than the I-Me-Myself vanity so many of them are consumed by.
The good news is that many kids from the ‘I want it now!' generation do want to make a difference. They just don't know how and where to begin. At home, possibly?
For that you'd have to do better than writing that annual cheque to a couple of NGOs or palming off old clothes to servants for their children.
It's about keeping kids thin king and involved with a number of concerns.
Family first, agrees Feruzan Mehta, India coordinator for Seeds of Peace, working with 13to 15-year-old schoolchildren to promote harmony between international cultures.
Parents and teachers hold the key to do-gooder tendencies. She says, "Kids are curious about what adults think and take them seriously. Because children can also be incredibly gentle, they easily understand pacifist attitudes.
They need to be channeled, not controlled. Discuss current affairs without heavy-handed lines like ‘This is right-that was wrong'. Use logic and reasoning which young people quickly take to."
Hearts in place, some kids show a social consciousness beyond their years. A recent countrywide survey by Cartoon Network studying over 3,000 children (aged seven-14) from 14 states throws up interesting facts.
Global warming, world peace, national pride and handling money wisely appear high on the agenda.
Though technology is an inseparable part of kids' lives, gaming on the Net is their favourite pastime. Film stars and cricketers are their all-time heroes, other happier trends emerge as well.
As many as 32 per cent of them want to know what they can do to reduce poverty .
25 per cent wish to save endangered species and a whopping 74 per cent hope they can always work in and for India (a mere 9 per cent rooted for America, while it's unclear what the rest voted).
Psychologist Sonya Mehta also feels core values aren't really lost. On the contrary, she finds more children today thinking more about environmental issues, corruption and human rights than earlier generations did.
"Instead, blame parents who tell kids, ‘There's enough time to do this goody-goody stuff later, focus on your studies.'"
Not only are they aware of locallevel issues, youngsters readily log on to a variety of online campaigns and causes to espouse. Fully aware From stopping seal killings to deforestation in South America, and supporting movements like Greenpeace to Planet Help, the calls for help don't go ignored.
Sociologist Shilpa Phadke believes, "Children are bombarded with shallow media messages of material success, the idea that consumption brings happiness. This may be an image they don't buy entirely ." Meher Marfatia has written ten books for children and two for parents. She can be contacted on: