The decadence of our current generation of learners

The youth are considered the hope of our nation.

Such an aphorism has been attributed to the eminent Dr. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Realonda, the Calamba, Laguna-born-and-bred medical doctor, pedant, polyglot, patriot, and martyr who lived from June 19, 1861 to December 30, 1896. Though Dr. Rizal’s words of wisdom may have been used over and over, they still resonate positively in our minds and hearts for they pertain to youth development and national greatness, which every country in this world aspires for.

It is such a quite pitiful sight to see the youth of today- our current generation of learners, to be exact- wither away. Back in the old days, the youth of the distant past were known to have undergone both tongue lashing and slipper whacking just for them to toe the line. They would also be forced to apologize to the people whom they have offended (eventually, the youth of the past would learn how to be humble enough to admit their mistakes and learn from them genuinely). Additionally, they would learn how to take on household responsibilities as part of their character development and moral growth. In terms of education, the youth of yesterday- the learners of the past (and are still sharpening their saws at present)- may have been as mischievous as Peter Pan or Tinker Bell but they have definitely and eventually risen to the challenge in later life.

What has become of our learners of today?

A majority of our learners of today seem to have lost the brilliance and ebullience expected of every young person, who is supposed to be the hope of the nation and the flame that keeps burning to give light to the lost and the least. Hence, they are experiencing a decadence that is not supposed to be experienced by them.

Why have I said that our current generation of learners is becoming decadent (and, as applicable to some, errant)?

First of all, our current learners have been sheltered by their respective families. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being protected from harm and temptation. However, shielding our youth from the harsh realities of life is absolutely another story. How can we teach our young learners how to be brave in the face of adversity when we do not even teach them how to explore the outside world (with care and discretion, of course).

Another reason why our current crop of learners is fast declining is that they are morally bereft. I am not saying this as a sweeping generalization but as a keen observation and a reflection of my experiences with Generation Z learners. Many of our learners who consider themselves black sheep and underachievers barely receive moral support from their family as well as validation from their contemporaries and other people. Apart from this, many of our troubled learners have not been valued and appreciated for their positive attributes.

I would like to emphasize that our learners of today are declining in terms of their resiliency simply because they have not been exposed to major crises and catastrophes in their young lives. The fact that a majority of our young learners lack the requisite coping strategies and stress management skills, mainly because they have been cooped up in their respective homes for more than two years now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic itself is a major catastrophe, so our young learners are now forced to cope with the vicissitudes of life and reversal of circumstances…in the most difficult ways possible.

It is sad to think that despite the presence of technology and our young learners’ adroitness in using technology, they are still becoming emotionally and socially forlorn because these days, they do not get to appreciate the warmth and genuineness of human touch and personal interaction. Blame it partly on isolation and overprotection, which can cause anyone to break down.

We do not need to be an Albert Einstein, a Sigmund Freud, or a Jose Rizal to inspire our current generation of learners. As adults and more level-headed people, all we have to do is to be true to our principles and our values so that our impressionable youth would eventually be influenced to transform themselves into determined denizens of the world, not decadent douchebags.

GUESS WHAT: Sowing unbridled fear and emotional unrest are the tactics of this known credit collection company. According to some of my sources, who were forced to pay the credit card debts of others (the reason was identity theft), they were harassed and harangued by the company’s agents, whose tricks of the trade include repugnant speech and empty threats made to look real. One of my sources went to the extent of reporting the agents’ shenanigans not to the higher-ups but to (you guessed it, I guess) this columnist. One of these peccadillos happens to be calling debtors at unholy hours and work hours.

The credit collection company may still very much around and financially fecund but its name still evokes horror and repulsion.

What are the lessons of this story? Be fair and considerate in collecting debt. Never usurp authority just to get the job done. Show respect and you will be accorded respect. Money is not the only thing that makes the world go round.

GUESS WHO: This pseudo-intellectual broadcaster and businessperson (with questionable character and integrity) is a virtual pariah in his/her family. Though our subject and his/her better half seem to be very successful, they are actually financially rapacious and unscrupulous. My source, who happens to be the estranged kin of our subject in question, shared with me over lunch that his/her paternal cousin (the subject) has borrowed exorbitant amounts of money and has the gall to never pay his/her debts. In fairness to our subject, s/he never gambles but is simply avaricious for s/he lives the glamorous life, which, by the way, is contrary to our subject’s penchant for dressing like Willy Wonka or the 1984-era Madonna.

What are the lessons of the story? Never ever leverage on your family ties just to borrow money only for your whims and caprices. Money does not necessarily buy good taste and class. Your relatives are never your personal piggy bank or financing company. Trust is harder to lose than a trust fund.

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