Think to Listen - Yonatan Zenebe

A generation is a lot to lose.

I feel as though our generation has become so independent, to the point where we think we can do anything before we’re even mature enough to understand what we actually need. At least that’s what I went through. 16-19 is a very hard time; it’s a period in our lives where we’re sure that we are completely in control of our lives, and know better than everyone else.

I think one of the youth’s greatest flaws is lacking humility and increased self-righteousness. I remember having this arrogant mentality, “I know what to do, I can do this all by myself, I don’t need anyone to tell me otherwise.” It affected me to the point of disregarding anything my parents said to me; I just toned them out. I used to get really upset because they were strict and I wasn’t allowed to go out as much as I wanted. In truth, I started turning into a very snarky person who thought he knew it all. I’m not even sure how I ended up that way; like I had everything figured out, and when someone told me otherwise, I would end up hating and resenting that person. This is the case with not just me, but most of us.

In a way, it turns us into these rude, anti-authority individuals. And then, we end up making friends with others like us: people who disregard the warnings and pleads of the older generation.  Our ego keeps rising and our arrogance skyrockets.  We somehow justify rebellion, but the thing is, a rebellion without a humble cause will fail miserably.

Society has a set of rules, and these rules dictate, to some extent, what you can and can’t do. Meaning, you aren’t fully in control of your decisions, most are a given, a must. So what I, as a youth, wanted to do was break these rules, and break free of society’s expectations. I think that’s what we all tried to do at one point or another. It starts off small, maybe stealing gum from a supermarket or smoking a cigarette. But then it increases - because the more rules you break the more ‘in control’ you are. Before you know it, you’ve gone too far. You become an addict, you start drinking and driving. I shudder at the thought of all the things we could run into as a result of this. Rather, we need to be smart about our choices, know when to make our own choices and when to listen.

There are a lot of things we can learn from our parents and older generation. It didn’t make sense half the time but I’m glad my parents didn’t permit me to leave the house sometimes. Sure it didn’t seem fair then, but now when I look back, I see they actually saved me from making mistakes that I’d probably end up paying for for the rest of my life. I wish I had reacted differently then, but it’s definitely not too late now. 



Imagine how all this looks from God’s perspective. He is so mighty, so great and has an amazing plan for your life, but you mess it us simply because you ‘know’ what’s best. But if we have pride in our hearts, and selfish reasons for doing things, then how is God supposed to use us? How is he supposed to lead us to change our neighbourhood let alone the world?

One of the hardest lessons God has been continuously teaching me is that you can’t approach Him with your own finished work; a work that you deem good enough based on your own knowledge and understanding. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t downplay God by trying to figure Him and your dreams out by yourself. By making your dreams and visions remotely tangible, you’re telling God you don’t need Him! We can never begin to comprehend the way God thinks. The truth is, our plans will fail but God’s will always prevail.

We need to be humble and ask God to lead the way. We need to be humble enough to realize that we can’t do this on our own; that we will need to be guided by God and also listen to what the older generation has to offer. Humility - that’s the only way I can make a change, and that’s the only way our generation can make a change. 

It’s time for us to stop ignoring the older generation and start listening to them. It’s time to stop pushing them aside because our ego. We need to stand next to them to be stronger. It’s time that the gaps between the generations to be filled with love, hope and respect.