“We need our space!” This is a common phrase blurted with assertion or aggression by youngsters, all the time. Whether it’s about the privacy in their rooms, or a space where like-minded youth can chill, collaborate or do as they like, there is indeed a void when it comes to creating spaces for them and giving them space – the liberty of living their lives. So, what is this ‘space’ element that the youngsters keep harping about? NT KURIOCITY finds out
VENITA GOMES|NT KURIOCITY
When you say ‘space’ what exactly is it? Is it a physical infrastructure or a platform where youngsters can come together share ideas, needs, wants and more, or is it just leaving them to live their life and learn through their experiences? Well! ‘Spaces’ can be classified under varied themes like personal, public, recreational, safe spaces and much more.
What do our youngsters seek?
The theme for International Youth Day, to be celebrated on August 12, is ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ which aims at encouraging people to create spaces for our youngsters. While many a times we focus on development, none take into account our youngsters. They too have their likes, hobbies, interests, and need such spaces to better themselves and those that provide a platform for their growth and acceleration.
Let’s try to understand what spaces mean to our youth and how important their space is to them.
Need to break the stereotypical image: 22-year-old, Anushka Vaz from Mapusa feels that allowing children and youngsters to do what they like and not judging them in a stereotypical manner is important. “Today, the scenario is such that there are too many restrictions and objections that hold back our youth. Don’t do this, don’t do that; are some of the constant nags. Our parents and elders might be keeping us away from harm, but they are unintentionally trying to come in between our space. They should correct us when we go wrong, but not allowing us to live our age is just not done.”
Instead of calling youngsters useless, or saying they can’t do something and stereotyping them based on their looks and dressing, we need to open our minds to youngsters and allow them to open up about what they think, etc. A manager of a Panaji-based college says: “There is a need to understand the young. They are in a generation where they are more inclined towards technology and social networking and therefore their perception of life is completely different. They learn from what they see and we elders find it hard to adjust. We need to make an effort to understand and at the same time adjust to their lifestyle.”
Anushka believes that if the outlook of society changes, a lot of good and positive things can take place.“Young people should engage in social activities, be aware of what is happening around them, make attempts to save the environment, and think of new ideas and implementation, rather than wasting time in trying to put someone down. There is a need to encourage and uplift others.”
Creating spaces in governance: Many youngsters are at the forefront of political rallies, protests, uprisings and more. Though they challenge the authorities their voices often go unheard. A freelancer from Margao, Heather Fernandes thinks that spaces should be created in the democracy for the young. “The government needs to works to make sure our country runs well which includes the well being of the people. We need to have regular meets between the lawmakers and the youth because the country consists of a large young population and the ones running the country are of another era. Of course they have the experience to run the country but the quality of the country can possibly improve if educated youth are in a position to influence politicians/law and discuss what’s good for the country’s future together.
Knowing and understanding oneself: Identity crisis is another problem associated with youth. 25-year-old Cliszma Da Costa has started her own fitness venture and has been actively promoting fitness and the importance of Zumba in Goa. She feels that youngsters today need to have clarity about themselves. “We youngsters today need clarity and courage which I feel comes from a place of knowing oneself better. When we are in touch with who we genuinely are, it will help us find our passion. Once we know our passion we will understand the purpose of our life. Inadequate self-knowledge can lead us to situations, places and people who can misguide us.” Cliszma also advises youngsters to be in the company of individuals and mentors who have knowledge and will help one with direction and guidance.
Why don’t youth create their own spaces?
Youth spaces are facilitated in various ways, be it a village youth club, a youth Mandal or a parish youth association. People in such oganisations or capacities continue to mould youth through initiatives, programmes, etc, thus allowing them to be with their own, learn, have fun and grow.
The youth need to find a space of their own rather than rely on others. Director of Diocesan Youth Centre, Fr Savio D’souza says: “Youngsters have a lot of capabilities. Rather than relying on others to create one for them they need to create one. Everyone here has a purpose and is already working for it. There is only a need for encouragement,” he says before adding that like-minded youth should come together and bring forth the idea to create an apt space for them, instead of relying on others to facilitate a space for them.
Taking liberty for granted
While liberty is all that matters to youngsters, parents go through tough times thinking about their child’s activities and whereabouts. Many parents fear that giving a free hand could lead to several problems for their children and them too.
A parent who generally gives in to the ‘give me my space’ demand of his/her child is always hoping that the child doesn’t let them down. Parents are genuinely concerned. Parent from Panaji, Savola D’Cunha says that though parents given children liberty it is often misused. “If they are given their space and liberty, are they really taking the freedom into consideration or are they taking it for granted?” she questions.
Allow the space to work its way
Unlike the rest of the country, in Goa people are still living a much relaxed life as compared to the metropolitan cities where everyone is moving fast and life is totally a roller coaster ride. Many youngsters today are in a transitional phase where they want to move out of their comfort zone, even their home, to live their own life – and are open to facing challenges.
Psychologist, music therapist and drum circle facilitator, Arthur Fernandes says: “It is not that the youngsters are choosing to move out to misuse the space, but they too want to live a life acceptable to them. At home everything is taken care of and you are chilled out, less responsible and you know there is someone who will do your work. But when you are on your own, responsibility becomes optimum.” And it is always best if you are responsible at the earliest. “So, the more space you give youth, the more respect you get. Let’s not try to interfere too much in others life,” he concludes.