[Letters] Teens are key to growing nation

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[Letters] Teens are key to growing nation

The speed of the Internet, the shipbuilding industry, students’ academic achievement. These are some of the fields in which Korea ranks as No. 1 in the world. Korea has made a lot of economic, social and cultural achievements. However, like every nation, there are certain factors that hinder the potential growth of this country. Recognizing that teenagers are the leaders of the near future, let’s focus on the factors that teenagers these days will have to improve on.

Teenagers are always curious about a famous celebrity’s private life, fashion and style. That’s why the moment we turn on the Internet and quickly scan the daily news, our mouse thoughtlessly points to the “entertainment” section rather than the “social” section.

We hardly care whether a little boy is missing or whether a poor, old woman donated all her money to an orphanage. We’re instead interested in what kind of scarf an idol star wore today on a music show.

It’s high time that teenagers look at the larger world, not just things related to their own interests but also the things that are going on in the global society overall. There are so many helpless people who are in life-or-death situations. But since it is difficult for teenagers to raise their voices in the global community, they should start with concerning themselves with the needy people in their own country, such as orphans or senior citizens who live alone.

Another great trouble we face is the mind-set in which teenagers undertake volunteer work. Prestigious universities require high school students to do certain hours of volunteer work. As most of the volunteer work is done to get into college, it is done formally, without any sympathy for those they are helping.

True, it is difficult to empathize with other people, but at least if teenagers try to be in those people’s shoes, they could learn bitter lessons about how much they have been complaining about a flawless life compared to the people suffering from hardships.

Lastly, as February is graduation time for a lot of schools, we frequently see teenagers celebrating their graduation in an inappropriate way. Graduation has been a sincere and memorable event in the past. However, seniors now tear the uniforms of the graduating students and even threw them into the icy-cold river. It’s also not uncommon to see ketchup and flour all over a student’s body. This certainly is not a good way to express liberation. Acknowledging that graduation is a conclusion and a beginning at the same time, they should refrain from holding the unattractive ritual.

Korean teenagers should aim to cure the problems the country faces today. Most of all, teenagers should acknowledge that the country is fraught with numerous obstacles and that they should use “the growing pains” as stepping-stones to ameliorate every situation.

Common wisdom has it that a problem shared is a problem halved. Thus, the task is left to the will and capacities of Korean teenagers to help rehabilitate this country and help Korea grow in ways it wasn’t able to in the past.

Park Da-eun,

Hanyoung Foreign Language High School
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