Honoring My Mother | What a challenge smells like

DURING a recognition ceremony of honor students at one uni, the guest speaker was talking about the good old days and her experiences as a student leader. For most of the parents, a here-we-go-again feeling (the mental version of today’s eye roll) had clearly taken over, as the gist of her speech was clearly directed at inspiring the students in the assembly, and not aimed at us, the old farts in the room. I saw people discreetly tinkering with their phones, while some quietly chatted with their companions.

I guess I belonged to a third group. Although my eyes were fixed on her, with my head nodding as though in silent comprehension, my mind was actually flying 500 miles away. However, she dwelt on something that suddenly pulled me back from that astral reverie. She said, “Stop following the mold created by others and strive to create your own.” At this, I thought, this couldn’t be any truer, because today, original thought had indeed become rare, like an endangered species.

My memory of youth leaders of the past could hold their own against any argument, and their sharp critical analysis of issues was equally noteworthy. I remember that I was always in awe of their critique and view of national situations. Today’s versions however, sadly pale in comparison; and if you look at their critical analysis, it is evidently at its critical level.  The “mold” the guest speaker had mentioned clearly pertained to a certain actuation which, since time immemorial, had defined (as in a box) what a student leader’s attributes should be.

As the years went by, that template has then become so worn-thin that in this internet age, its clones are more like the result of a fashionable afterthought. In the days of old, the forerunner of present-day activists have been known to debate with visiting senators and members of congress, while at the same time showcasing their skills at argumentation and analytical view of issues. What we sadly see now are nothing but fist-pumping, slogan-mouthing cliches; clearly yesterday’s poor copy.

If the student leaders hadn’t seen it, the gloves are definitely off and are unceremoniously been thrown at their feet. Will they accept the challenge and reinvent themselves then? The elephant in the room awaits.

As a pop meme puts it, I’m buying the popcorn.

Posted in Opinion