Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Teen Pregnancy Crisis in Mass June 20, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 9:13 pm
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An appalling story from Massachusetts on teen pregnancy. 17 pregnancies over this past school year in girls age 16 and younger. Many of them made a pact to get pregnant so that they can raise them together. Read the report in US news or watch on AP video on Youtube.

Sex education program in the country is seriously being questioned. Is this the failure of kids, parents, school or the government? Finger pointing is on and it has spurred many ideological conversations. But when these kids drop out of school and end up in welfare, no body blames the school or government policy. In their foolishness, they are seriously sabotaging their own future and precious babies.

Sadly, fathers of these babies does not appear anywhere in this discussion. Pregnancy prevention and contraceptive approach are not enough. If we won’t let them drive on roads or do not consider responsible enough for many adult roles, why do we hesitate to speak against sexual activity before marriage. Abstinence is the best message for such crises and let’s not hesitate to tell the truth to the kids

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Cohabitation – who wants marriage? June 14, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 1:08 pm
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Who wants marriage these days? Just live together and break up when you want. Why sign papers and carry the burden of all legality issues associated with it. Who cares about long term commitment anyway? Relationships are meant to last as long as love lasts. As emotions ebb and flow, so do people wallk in and out of relationships.

What a distrubing line of reasoning that is. Just yesterday my wife was sharing about a colleague who after 5 years of cohabitating just broke up and walked out of the relationship. The emotional fall out is going to last rest of the lives and generations beyond themselves. Our society seems to be so obsessed with ourselves and the present that our capacity to think holistically and long term gets severly impaired.

David Popenoe of Rutgers University has come out with a new report on Cohabitation, Marriage and Child Wellbeing in America. He calls ‘the living together’ phenomena as the strongest force altering family in modern times. Since 1970, when cohabitation was a deviant and illegal practice, this social trend has grown 10 times and now makes up nearly 10 percent of all couples!

Non-marital cohabitation has become a normal part of the life course in the eyes of more than half of young singles in the United States. In 2001a national survey of young adults between the ages of 20 and 29, 43 percent agreed that “you would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” As of 2002, over 50 percent of women ages 19 to 44 had cohabited for a portion of their lives, compared to 33 percent in 1987 and virtually none a hundred years ago. The yearly number of marriages per 1000 unmarried women age 15 and older has dropped from 76 in 1970 to 41 in 2005.

Social stigma toward cohabitation is waning. Attitude has changed to acceptance and being trendy. Reasoning like pragmatism, cost effectiveness, testrun, hooking up etc seems to dominate young adults as they view relationship. The societal approval of non-marital sex (before, outside of and without marriage), a fallout of sexual revolution of the 1960s, may be at the heart of this social development.

Moreover radical individualism of the Western world, promiscuity of the culture, delay in marriage, changing gender roles etc have contributed toward this trend. Legalistic society that the West has become with high cost of marriage and divorce may be partly blamed. Rise of divorce and singlehood are also other reasons for this social development.

More on this later.

 

Murder capital of the world June 13, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 10:20 pm
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Ever wondered which nation in the world would be called Murder capital of the world. This might come shocking to you. This dubious distinction goes to India, according to recent report. See BBC, Time of India, Gulf Times etc.

According to data put together by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there are more than 32000 incident of murder recorded in India during 2007.  Twice as that of US or three times that of neighboring Pakistan. India was closely followed by South Africa with nearly 31000 incidents of murders.

The rate of murder in India is three per 100,000 people while that of rape is four in 100,000, according to the government report. But murder rate per capita may be less than many countries due to the large population of India. Of course, these are official figures and there would be thosands of unreported cases in India and other countries as well.

As India tries to portray an image of herself as a bouyant economy, nuclear power and vibrant culture, this comes as a big blow. There exist a deeply divided and deep seated animosity within the society. Communal clashes, religious persecution, expoitation of weak and poor goes on everyday in every city, town and village. The widespread disparity in wealth distribution, lack of diginity for life, fatalistic worldview etc is going to cost India a great deal in containing its aspirations!

 

Children of Immigrants June 9, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 3:59 pm
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I read this distrubing story on children of immigrants in  Chicago Tribune. Most of the stories covered were from lower socio-economic class and people south of the US border. But I concur with the struggles of immigrant children and see many similiar trend among Asian Indian community as well.

There is no doubt that immigrant life is hard. But life for the children is even harder. For the later it is social, psychological and spiritual. Being a adolescent has never been easy and it is harder now than ever has been. For immigrant communities, the challenges are multiplied. Need for stability at home and enduring relationship are key to navigating this section of the population into adulthood and responsible citizenry.

When home, church and the nation does not recognize these unique struggles of the next generation, it is tragic. No matter how much of success the immigrant generation are able to achieve,their legacy is short lived. We pay a heavy price thro their marginalization and self destructive behaviors.

Some may say it is not relevant to he Indian America community. We pride in our educational and economic achievement, not to mention our cultural pride. But we are seeing a rise in broken homes, diliquency, drug addiction and gang activities among the second generation of Indian in United States. Many of them come from very educated and successful homes.

When parents are busy pursuing their dreams, children often are neglected and abused in the hand of care givers, neighbors and other relatives. Immigrant parents sacrifice their children on the altar of cultural pride and material accumulationsucces in order to realize their American dreams. Children suffer from loneliness and insecurity, often resulting in confused sense of identity and dwarfed sense of esteem.

When bottom falls out and there are no flicker of hope, some have encounters with God and their life is dramatically transformed. More are falling thro the cracks. Will you stand in the gap?

 

Happiness in Marriage June 3, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 3:09 pm
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Recently a Harvard psychology professor (Dan Gilbert) came out with a book on happiness in marriage. It is called ‘Stumbling on Happiness’. See the report in New York Times or Telegraph. See his blog here.

Among the many distorted views being promoted by this researcher is that children spoil happiness in marriage. How wrong this is. It probably is indicative of the growing selfishness of adults in the western culture. Whether it be marriage or children, our culture is all about what is in for me.

A quote from the book, which gives the slant of the entire book, I guess. “When we have an experience . . . on successive occasions, we quickly begin to adapt to it, and the experience yields less pleasure each time,” he writes. “Psychologists calls this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.”

Sure, small kids are lots of work and depletes all our resources – time, energy and money. Couples become child-centric and have little or no time for each other. Raising kids is also very expensive these days and involves much sacrifice. But parenting teaches us some very fundamental lessons in life, other, community, faith and God.

The American experiment is based on ‘pursuit of happiness’ and yet it evades most Americans. As long we are obsessed with ourselves and using (even abusing) others for our own selfish gains, we never will find happiness. Marriage and children makes us other centered. It teaches us to serve other sacrificially. It is the only by finding happiness of others that we find ourselves happy.

Materialism or promiscuity can never give lasting happiness. We must turn to spiritual pursuits and return to finding core of our being. Search for ultimate truth about origin, meaning, end of life. Marriage and children are fundamentally makes us to ask deeper questions about life.