Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Youth Happiness Survey August 27, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,Youth — Sam George @ 2:42 pm

Associated Press & MTV asked youth between the ages of 13 and 24 – “What makes you happy?” Most think answers could range from music, drugs, relationship, sex, money, cars etc. But surprise…surprise. The survery showed some remarkable things about youth and hence all youth workers must take notice.

 The top answer was spending time with family members and then came time with friends and significant others. Most adults think that youth angst tries to push themselves away from adults. But that is wrong. Youth need adults. Family members mean a lot to their development and maturation. They provide a sense of security like nothing else out there. They are looking for meaningful and life giving relationship with adults, who can empathize with their struggles and has the wisdom to navigate them through the quargmore of adolescence.

Other findings that stood for me: more money does not make them happy, sexually active youths are less happy, faith and spirituality very important in pursuit of happiness, most hope to get married and believes that lasting marriage will give them happiness, parents are their heroes!

There is no doubt among leading thinkers these days that relationship are the source of happiness. There is nothing like lasting and fulfilling relationship that can give us a sense of contentment. Today’s youth have figured out that material things, wealth, sensual pleasure or conveniences in life does not make them really happy. They have intuitively known that even many adults have no clue about.

Find reports on this survey at GMA.


Backlash on Asian Americans – VT shootings August 24, 2007

Filed under: Events,Family,Youth — Sam George @ 2:52 pm

Virginia Tech opened for another year of school, but school will never be the same after shootings four months ago. I know students who had applied to VT and came under pressure from parents to go elsewhere. Asian American families do not feel comfortable to send their children to VT, not because of the fear of another shooting (it could happen in any campus, for that matter) but the backlash and stereotyping their children have to endure.

I was shocked to hear the events at Virginia Tech few months ago. It was the worst school shooting in the history of US that killed 33 people at the college by a Korean American student. I have known many students who graduated from there and others who are involved with student ministry in the campus. See these reports – Shame on the family, trying to figure out what went on inside killer’s mind etc

Korean society puts a lot of insistence on doing well academically and economically. That contributes to a lot of pressure on younger Korean-Americans. The same can be said of other Asian Americans and Indian Americans in particularly. A study found suicide was the second leading cause of death among young Asian-Americans between 15 and 24, more than the national average. Asian-American girls between 15 and 24 have the highest rates of depressive symptoms and suicide rates among all racial groups in the US.

Living upto model minority myth creates tremendous inner pressure to perform. And those who do not make it or live upto those expectations, resort other avenues to take the pressures off. But those who cannot take the pressure off thro relief valve, pressure keeps building and eventually results in blowing up!


Adolescent Suicides On the Rise August 21, 2007

Filed under: Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 3:28 am

Suicide rates for adolescents declined from 1994-2003, but increased 18% the following year. Since then the steady rise in suicides are attributed to antidepressant drugs. It is proven fact and even drug label clearly indicate that antidepressants increases suicidal thinking and behaviors. See a recent report.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all persons regardless of age, sex or race; the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24; and the fourth leading cause of death for persons between the ages of 10 and 14. Each year, there are approximately 12 suicides for every 100,000 adolescents. A recent CDC study reported that 27% of high school students said they had thought seriously about killing themselves during the past year. 8% said they had actually tried to kill themselves.

Here are some suicide prevention and survivor resources from Griefnet. Also helpful guide to prevent teen suicide from American Academy of Pediatrics. Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 800-261-4000.


American Children’s Health August 20, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Resources — Sam George @ 2:47 am

A new official report is out on children – America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007 provides an assessment of the health of children in the United States by examining statistics on health, housing, education, the environment, and other areas. Check here for the entire report or news coverage here.

Some positive trends include improved immunization, declining second hand smoke, lower teen birth rate etc. But it also revealed many negative trends like increased low birth weight, rate of obesity, type 2 diabetic, inceased adolescent crimes, not covered by health insurance increased etc.

Then there is findings like increased school children using condoms, which can be positive for (safe sex advocates) yet increased promiscuity is not a healthy sign. They might not get pregnant or catch any diseases, but we are accepting that premarital sexual activity is normative. See the slant of the same report in Chicago Tribune.

According to the report, 47% of high school students, or 6.7 million, reported having had sexual intercourse in 2005, compared with 54% in 1991. Though it decreased, still almost half of all school children are sexually experimented, most of these baggage is lead to instability to future relational pursuits and marraige.


Obese America – Health Crisis in the Making August 16, 2007

Filed under: News,Youth — Sam George @ 1:31 am

If people keep gaining weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75 percent of U.S. adults overweight and 41 percent obese. A new study John Hopkins University reported this new finding. Read reports.

If this trend continues, it will become leading preventable cause of death. The paradox of material prosperity and consumeristic culture. When millions are dying of starvation in many parts of the world, many in America will die of excess eating. What a modern dilemma!

I am reminded of stern warning of Ron Sider many years ago in his book titled – Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Jesus’ confrontation with the rich young ruler. How long we turn a blind eye to poor, impoverished and marginalized people of the world.

The democractic and captilistic ideals are being promoted everywhere. If wealth and power could solve the people problems, America should not have had any problems. Beyond social and economic reality, there lies a even greater spiritual reality. Unless we address those deeper issues decisively, superficial behavioral modifications are not going to solve our worlds’ problems!


Tribute to Binil Samuel August 13, 2007

Filed under: church,Youth — Sam George @ 10:57 pm

Last week was a difficult week for me. After a busy 10 day trip to London & Cambridge in UK, I got back home on Tuesday evening with a fever. But what made it very hard was untimely death of a youth leader in my church – Binil Samuel.

Just before I left for UK, Binil had send me a rather long email describing a vision for new ministry he had been thinking about. He wanted to meet up with me to discuss how to develop the vision further. I called him up later that day and we had a long chat. I promised to meet with him when I get back from UK. In fact, I was to meet him last wednesday.

He also told me about his recent graduation and the dream job he hope to start in Fall. He was looking forward to travelling on his new job and expanding his involvement far and wide. He further shared about his dream about developing a travelling drama team to share the truths of the gospel around the world. He was part of our church‘s creative presentation team and had done an exceptional service over last two years.

Binil was killed in a road accident on Aug 6. Instead of meeting with him, I had to speak at his memorial serice on Wednesday and then I also spoke at a special service at church on Sunday. Wake was on Friday and funeral on Sunday afternoon, both of which were organized very well by youths of Chicago.It celebrated his beautiful life and was amazing to see how much impact he had on his generation.

He was a godly young man with relentless passion to learn. He was part of a small group bible study, used his god-given talents and creativity for God’s glory and had tremendous influence on everyone around him. Listen to his testimony given to his youth group. A life well lived, though short. A legacy that will last a very long time.


Visit to London UK August 8, 2007

Filed under: Leadership,Ministries,Youth — Sam George @ 8:56 pm

Just got back home last night after 10 days being in London, UK. I went there primarily for SAGC, a gathering of young leaders of South Asian from around the world. It was humbling to see what God is doing among the South Asian Diaspora and the challenge of what need to be done.

It was a great time reconnect with old friends and make new ones. With some of them, I had been communicating over email for some time and it was great to sit down and hear their life stories. I also had the opportunity to visit two of the local congregations. The Coconut Generation book was featured at the conference as a resource.

I presented two seminars on ‘Identity Struggles on South Asian Youth’. It was for the first time, the ideas in the book where research was limited to the North American context, was being shared with a global audience and feedbacks had been overwhelming. Some expressed need for doing similar research among their own context and agreed that theoretical and theological framework are transferable to other contexts as well.

Overall a great gathering indeed. Now looking forward to the North American Youth Leaders conference in NY – If you haven’t registered yet, please do that asap. Seats are limited.