Fast generation

Fast generation Pier Paolo Donati, lecturer at the University of Bologna , maintains that the core of the educational emergency does not consist in the fact that we are faced with a society that wants to educate, but fails.

The issue is much more serious and radical: the educational emergency lies in the fact that the impossibility to educate is seen as normal in the society in which we live. It has become inevitable, and even desirable and welcome, since our society has started to think of itself as open to the maximum level of variation possible regarding options and behaviour. As a result, deviance itself has been incorporated as one of the many admissible possibilities, to the point of being progressively included as ‘normal' behaviour, on the sole condition of not taking from the equal rights of others to do the same. It is in this that the real nature of the educational emergency consists.

The younger generations are ‘moving in a vacuum' not just because they lack opportunities, nor because they lack valid parents and teachers, but because the society in which they live teaches them that they should not have goals or make plans since they could not be realized. Many young people in the present day context, live in the fast generation , without either roots or wings. The doubt many have to face is not: «To be or not to be?», but rather: «To look or not to look: that is the question?». The new generations, especially in highly developed situations are more preoccupied with the image than the substance. It is as if to say that under the dress there is nothing.

But what are adults offering young people? What do the adolescents and young people see? What do they read in adult society? Closeness or abuse, sometimes veiled, sometimes explicit? A sense of the common good or individualism and corruption? The primacy of being or of appearances? The researcher Jorge Baeza Correa, in his intervention at the 3 rd Latin American Youth Congress ( Los Teques – Venezuela , September 5-12, 2010), stated that, in spite of the enormous diversity that characterises the younger generations one can find some common elements. Pre-adolescents, adolescents and young adults give great importance to the body, to music, to personalised forms of religion, to the predominance of the image, to new technologies of communication, to affectivity as a dimension of personality and of social relationships, to the present as the predominant temporal dimension. These common characteristics of young people are also the characteristics of the majority of the population. Adults today are more centred on themselves and much more preoccupied with the present than the future, more on the private domain and the search for personal fulfilment than on serving the common good. The younger generations are not, in a certain sense, much different from the adults of today. Today adults and young people are not advancing in a gradual way nor even along previous and in some way predetermined paths. Uncertainty imposes constant decision making and this requires of everyone, adults and youth, a greater ability to manage themselves. Everyone, especially young people who are at a stage of building their identity, has to be able to manage their own tensions, act on their own initiative and establish social links that will give the possibility of identifying themselves and differentiating themselves in their relations with others. It is certain that not all have the same capacity for managing their tensions, building their identity, developing a life plan and adequately structuring social bonds. Such situations bring us back to the need for educational accompaniment. The immediate question is: how does one accompany? It is necessary to accompany in the awareness that adolescents and young adults are not objects, cases or patients, but partners in dialogue who often just need to be listened to . Many young people seek adults who are capable of listening, that is a person who gives time, attention, who does not judge, leaves space for narration, does not interrupt, does not invade, does not look down on, does not distract, undervalue or mock, does not make little of or get agitated, does not think s/he has to answer. Sometimes the solutions or answers are of no value. It is sufficient to listen to become authoritative.

Mara Borsi

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