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Corvida Raven

Community Catalyst, TED Conferences

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What is the single most important question that the youth of this era need to ask themselves?

The youth of today are growing up in a completely different world from their parents and grandparents. With all the technology, media, and economic problems of today, it makes me wonder about the questions that the youth should ask themselves.

What do you think is the single most important question that the youth need to ask themselves? What was a question you wish you would've asked your younger self?

Topics: life tedxyouth youth
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  • Sep 7 2011: All these questions you're proposing are good, but they might be too hard to answer for a teenager or it can actually hurt her. More than that now I come to think that parents shouldn't allow their kids to answer questions like 'who am I?', 'whats right?', 'what should I become?' themselves. Seriously, would you let 15 years old choose your job? Would you let 15 years old yourself choose a car for you now? No, I suppose not.
    So single, most essential question I wish my younger self asked himself is "What else to ask dad?". I guess I would be better off that way.
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      Sep 7 2011: So you think the reverse should be done Roman? Should kids just be free to ask instead of us imposing what questions we think that should be asking?
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      Sep 7 2011: I emphatically disagree. That is a logical disaster. Would you suggest children shouldn't physically grow? Should children ask, "Daddy, can I get taller?". No. Why then would you suggest children shouldn't grow inwardly? That only happens from curiosity, from exposure, from experiences, which all lead to questions.

      A 15 year old need not need to worry about those questions. A 15 year old should be free to ask questions relevant to their life, as well as make mistakes and learn from them. That's growth.

      I agree there is massive value in tapping into the wisdom of parents, who've had those experiences and asked those questions. Nevertheless, investigating the nature of the world is very different from being told the nature of the world.
      • Sep 8 2011: As far as I understand your question Corvida, yes. There really is no single answer to life and if there is we are yet to know it, so we shouldn't be expecting kids to find the right question, let alone the answer itself. We should, however encourage them to inquire, to be curious, we should lead them to the answer and for the best not give it to them on a silver plate, so they can learn how to seek an answer themselves later in their life. Finding answers and defining things is a skill like any other and everyone have to gain it through experience and practice. So they should not ask one, most important question, because they wouldn't handle answering it, but ask all the questions they can come up with in order to create detailed map of the world, so they can later place themselves somewhere in there.

        Luke, as for your last sentence, I'm aware of this as I consider myself a beginning reductionist.
        Here is an article on distinguishing those two things http://lesswrong.com/lw/nh/extensions_and_intensions/
        To answer someone's question you can do three things: define, show and give her a map to find herself. I would support the third option as it gives the answer and shows how to find it yourself. Two birds one stone.

        We can let kids trip down, but we can't let them stay down. We have to help them get up and going on. We have to be there to support, scold and praise them. We have to moderate the flow of their stream of consciousness so it won't go awry. Especially in these days of information noise when we tend to loose contact with real world in favor of social networks being in touch with people that are closest to you is so important.
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          Sep 8 2011: Hi Roman, we all parent differently but I worked to encourage my kids to think for themselves and ask the hard questions as soon as they felt ready to do so. Of course, they will not have all the answers but just attempting it and believing that their life's course is something over which they have some control is valuable in my estimation. Keeping them dependent on us for 'wisdom' and direction may feel safer to us but will not prepare them for the world. I always found my kids were amazingly aware, reflective and often very able to cut through the obstacles.
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          Sep 8 2011: Hi Roman,

          I was mistaken. I think we have a somewhat similar opinion on the matter.

          - "Providing a map is more useful than giving the answer." -- Providing children with the means and resources to investigate leads to not only the answer but intuition, when in the presence of curiosity.

          - "We should, however encourage them to inquire, to be curious." -- Precisely. Curiosity is invaluable. (At least, it has been the most deciding factor in my education. Make me curious, and a teacher earns my respect.)

          - Inquiry also has been a significant piece of my learning. However, I mostly inquired into many ideas on my own. This is why I disagreed with you; my leading tool for discovery is asking questions, regardless of their size. Searching for answers, myself.

          - "..we shouldn't be expecting kids to find the right question, let alone the answer itself." -- These big questions shouldn't be asked of kids. But big questions should only be encouraged. They should be the result of their own curiosity. These are the questions that shape independent minds -- which I see as important.

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