What we owe our youth

We have probably been very unfair with and discriminating towards our young people – they are the source of all the problems we are facing today as a society. That is how we look at them. They are what they have become perhaps because we, unwittingly, lost them along the way?

Of course the majority of problems we confront today are youth-related. Rising crime, unemployment and substance abuse to name but a few. But we must recognise that these are problems brought to our doorstep not by our young people on their own because they are young. These are problems we created because of our shortcoming as elders. We failed to give them the fecund earth to grow to be the productive members of our society.

We have the problem of rising youth employment today not because our young people are unwilling to work. We have not given them the skills with which they can stand on their own feet. We might say that we have enough jobs, but the employment opportunities that we have opened are not the kind that our youth are willing to take.

We talk about the rising crime rate in the cities and blame our young people outright. When our children are increasingly feeling hopeless without job and care and sense of safety net in the society, resorting to drugs and petty criminal acts is perhaps the only option left for them. The danger though is if we fail to act swiftly to create a conducive environment where our children can walk into as a responsible citizen, it could be costly to the nation in the long run.

In a society where we have more than necessary bars and entertainment hubs than education centres there will of course be problems related to young people. When parents, especially in the urban quarters of the country, are busy chasing their own loves and ephemeral dreams, our children are bound to go afield.

Good news is that Thimphu Thromde is planning five community libraries in the city. If we have such healthy centres where our young people will want to hang out, much of the problems facing our children today will disappear gradually. An hour they spend in a library, browsing through the varied subjects, will help broaden their understanding of the world beyond their homes and dingy gullies. Our children will be more informed and knowledgeable. This in the long run will contribute greatly towards making Bhutan a reading and an intelligent society.

We commend Thimphu Thromde for this vision and initiative. Every thromde in the country should emulate and adopt this plan.