Leaders of Tomorrow: A Matter of Independence

Leaders of Tomorrow: A Matter of Independence

Helen Keller once said, “It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance its allotted length”. In this day and age, youths are always finding new ways to solve their problems on their own, and they are slowly gaining independence from their parents. One difference between millennials and generation Z is that millennials prefer collaborative work whereas generation Z prefer independent work. The Generation Z often harbour a do-it-yourself mentality and would rather complete tasks on their own, as compared to millennials who would embrace collaborative arrangements. As the times change, youths believe that they should be given more independence, and they prefer to do things on their own rather than ask their parents for help. I believe that youths today are not too dependent on their parents due to the advancement in technology such as the internet and mobile devices, independent experiences in school, and their parents’ busy work empowering youths to handle daily tasks alone. 

Because of the advancement in technology, youths are likely to solve their problems through the internet rather than asking their parents for help. Youths may have many questions that they want answers to, and to them, the internet is perceived to be the best place to find instant answers. With the influx of the internet and mobile devices, youths no longer need to wait for an answer, and are able to obtain more specific and accurate responses. Such responses are abundant, and youths will feel empowered. There are many resources on the internet that youths nowadays are very familiar with, and youths consider them to be more convenient than asking their parents. Youths are also able to maintain social connections and support networks that otherwise would not be possible, and can access more information than before. The communities and social interactions youths form online are invaluable for developing their self-confidence and independence. Thus, because of the advancement in technology, youths are able to develop their independence. 

Furthermore, schools are places where youths are also able to learn independence. It starts with simple tasks such as commuting to and from school by themselves. In school, youths are encouraged to be independent, and teachers often teach students to complete tasks by themselves and without their parents’ help. Students are encouraged to complete their schoolwork on their own, and approach their teachers for help instead of asking their parents. Schools also promote independent learning, by encouraging students to study and prepare for examinations themselves. Youths learn to manage their work and cope with their commitments. Students are expected to manage their time wisely and hand in their homework on time without constant reminders. In addition, some schools even provide boarding schools where youths only go home on the weekends. Youths are able to deal with most daily problems by themselves and are more independent, in the hope that they are able to be independent when they become adults. For example, my school has a boarding programme where students have to stay in boarding school for six weeks a year, and we are allowed to go home on the weekends. Through this programme, I have definitely learnt to be independent. I had to take care of my own laundry, clean my room weekly and take charge of my own learning. It is programmes like this that teaches youths how to be independent, and manage their own life when they are away from their parents. Thus, youths are able to deal with their school life without their parents at their side, and this promotes independence.  

Yet, it is true that youths will definitely rely on their parents for certain things. One example is daily allowance. Youths are still young and most of them are not earning money yet. They will still need to depend on an allowance from their parents to buy food during recess or to buy things. However, when youths grow up and start earning money, we cannot always rely on our parents for money. We can depend on them for now, but eventually this is something we need to be independent of as well. 

Many youths’ parents are busy with their work everyday, and are not there to guide them in every step. Nowadays, encumbered by endless work, most parents do not have time to take care of their children. Thus, youths have to focus on managing their daily lives by themselves. In the past, parents would take care of tasks like doing the laundry and cooking meals, but now youths have to take care of their own daily needs. Without their parents to do these tasks for them, youths now have these responsibilities and slowly they are compelled to learn to be independent and not rely on their parents so much. This prepares youths for the future, where our parents will not always be around for us to rely on. As we grow older, our responsibilities and commitments will definitely increase as well. Thus, when youths’ parents are busy with their work, this gives them opportunities to acquire essential life skills on how to complete daily tasks without needing their parents’ help and this develops independence which will be essential one day. 

As Denis Waitley once said, ‘The greatest gift you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.’

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