The Situation is Dire: Why Many Young People Are Headed for Disaster

My ignorance protected me for many years. Living my middle class lifestyle kept me safe from the reality of the world around me.

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Being a professional Christian for over a decade blinded me to the real plight of those around me, my neighbours and even the people I attempted to work with.

Then I changed jobs.

I now find myself smack bang in the middle of a string of enormous problems that I never knew existed.

15 and 16 year old kids wrestling with issues that I didn’t think imaginable until I was confronted head on with the stories from the kids themselves.

Depression, anxiety, estranged parents, frustration with step dads and mums, anger issues, alcoholism, drugs, relationship breakdowns, career confusion, school work overload, loneliness, ADHD, learning difficulties and the list goes on.

Week in and week out these issues are becoming more and more prevalent.

The situation for the majority of the young people I work with is dire.

My greatest concern? The futures for these kids and the support the many agencies provide is inadequate. It’s not enough.

Not only that, the problems are so multi layered it cannot be addressed simply by fixing one. Once you’ve plugged one hole, another one appears.

It breaks my heart and I often wonder what the hell is the point?

The Secret of Change

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” ~ Unknown

I’m pretty sure this is where I’ve been falling down. More often than not I’ll spend much of my time and energy ensuring the ‘old me’ doesn’t come back. I keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn’t increase.

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The problem with this of course, is if I’m looking at the past and how it’s holding me back, I can’t take hold of the future and the change I desire.

Even after taking hold of the new, I still find myself seeking some comfort in the old world. It’s like there is a piece of me left back there that I have a tie too, a deep affection.

Yet, I know it’s unhelpful. I know it won’t be the thing that sustains me over the long-term.

So I’m doing it differently. It’s time to really focus on the future and the world I desire to be part of and the habits that will enrich my life.

Doing this will slowly begin to see the past as an unattractive addiction.

Whilst the future will be enticing.

Watching Australia Grow Up

Adam Goodes. The mere mention of the man’s name will elicit all sorts of responses.

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Whether you like the tribal dance that he (and Lewis Jetta) did or not, there is a broader issue at play. A conversation is happening for all Australians to determine the values and characteristics they want to live by, which will set in motion the actions of forthcoming generations.

But what we’re seeing is Australia, a relatively young country in comparison to the rest of the world, wrestling with major issues, in much the same way a young adult wrestles with their identity as they’re let loose into the world after completing school and turning 18.

Freedom abounds, but with freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility to others, and to society at large. 

Australia has left school and is growing up and in the process, figuring out what’s important and who she’d like to become.

It’s growing up because it is being forced to wrestle with a plethora of difficult topics: Same Sex Marriage, climate change, asylum seekers, overseas food imports, value and sanctity of life, national security and the list goes on.

Add to that, racism, and the debate sparked by Adam Goodes, a former Australian of the Year and proud Aboriginal.

It’s playing out in the media and Adam Goodes is the bloke who has drawn the attention, but make no mistake, as a country, we are sorting out our moral code and the values we hold dear.

So as the conversation happens around you, consider the type of person you’re becoming. Consider how racism and prejudice of all kinds may influence your choices and determine the people you hang around with.

It’s up to us to be the world we want to live in, and teach those values to the people who are watching us.

The chorus of hype surrounding freedom of speech is alive and well, yet when it happens it divides.

You have a freedom to speak, but you don’t have a freedom to segregate. Words are powerful, choose them carefully, and in the process you’ll learn what you stand for and what’s important.

When we all analyse ourselves in this way, our country matures and we unite.

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Here is a great video explaining the issue really clearly. Watch from 0-2.30mins

Flying Anytime Soon?

Wow. Pretty amazing it actually landed!

Create a Lifestyle Instead

Mostly we set goals. Health goals, career goals, emotional goals, relational goals and so on. And these can be helpful.

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But not as helpful as crafting habits which lead to a lifestyle that brings pure joy.

It reminds me of a quote by Seth Godin:

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

I know I’ve been guilty of this. Hanging out for holidays so I can escape my 9-5 world. I didn’t know it at the time, but I couldn’t work out why I was never refreshed and energised to return to work. It was because I wasn’t happy with the lifestyle I’d created and my employment was slowly eating me away.

I’ve changed a few things up and feel like I’m getting closer to the lifestyle which I’ll enjoy over the long-term.

So when you’re setting your next lot of goals, take a moment to consider how achieving these would lead you closer to a lifestyle that you’d love to wake up to.

If they don’t, maybe they’re not worth setting.