The youth of the world

During our visit to Jerusalem last month I was amazed by how many young people there were in Israel who were serving either at the border patrol, or in fatigues touring historical sites such as Yed Vashem, the holocaust memorial.

And today I heard a few high schoolers on the BBC World Service speak about how they didn’t want to inherit a broken world given to them by world leaders in two weeks at the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

Or the Harvard students who created a banker’s code of ethics, sick of not being able to hold their heads high after the irresponsibility of their industry sent the world into a global tailspin.

I’m encouraged because the youth of today who are generally suspected of being spoiled and disinterested in the world are showing otherwise. In Qatar, where I live, this generation is the one making meaningful choices between tradition and modernity to live their own lives. They shake hands with people of the opposite sex during meetings; they eat at the table with non-relatives, they go into homes of people of other nationalities, cultivate friendships, and talk about the taboo. These may seem like small acts but they are mighty in a culture of solidarity and emphasis on the collective over the whole.

They give me hope and inspiration to keep living a life of conscious choice and meaning, breaking the old habit of falling under the spell of mediocrity.

Any recent choices you’ve made to do things differently? To be a trendsetter not because its in but because of your conscious?