Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Sexuality & Spirituality of College students August 28, 2009

Filed under: Culture,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 4:08 pm

Summer is over. Fall session has begun in most colleges in the country. Many parents have send off their sons and daughters to college for the first time and are yet to recover from the shock how their ‘baby’ has grown up so fast or how he/she is going to survive in the college!

College students are more sexually active than previous generations and there is growing fascination to spirituality. How do these young people reconcile their spiritual longings with sexual freedom on campus? Do they connect the dots at all? Why not?

Recently, I came across this book (Sex and the Soul byDonna Freitas) and added it to my ‘to read list.’ Read some reviews here – USA Today, Amazon. She is professor of religion in Boston Univeristy and has extensively researched across American university campuses. Check it our for yourself.sex soul cover

Indian American teens who have grown up in very traditional homes and parents who shyed away from talking about sex openly, are generally confused about sex. They have only heard “don’t do it … no one is going to marry you then.” Parents are harder on girls than boys. Media and peers often holds to values that contracdict their parents’ values and what is really good for them. The new found freedom and lack of accountability in college dorms only makes it worse.

Especially it is harder for girls who repress their sexuality until they go away to college have not developed a conviction about sexual ethics. Getting pregnant or catching sexually transmitted disease are not the only reason why young people should abstain from sex.

Quoting from the book, “Teenagers usually follow their parents’ religious preferences until college. Then, students shift to an uncertain and lonely spirituality, which doesn’t give them the resources to deal with demeaning sexual practices. Young women come off worst: They’re expected to conform to pornographic masculine fantasies, but also achieve academic success and self-confidence.”

The profound connection of sexuality and spirituality are often overlooked. Deep longing of the soul lead them to experiment with sex, but often left unfulfilled. Passion when finds its expression in casual sexual practices leaves our young people more confused than before. Jumping from bed to bed or dorm rooms to another is a poor solution to  deep longing of the soul.

Not to mention how the baggage of premarital sex affects married life and fulfilling sexual experiences. Many of marriage problems I see among young Indian American families could traced back to their college lives – inadequate relationship skills, past relational blunders, premarital sexual involvement and dysfunctional childhood homes. Momentary pleasure lead to lifetime of pain. It surely is not worth it!

 

Suicidal tendency August 19, 2009

Filed under: church,Culture,News,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 10:55 pm

U.S.-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior, according to new University of Washington research.  The study shows 15.93 percent of U.S.-born Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, exceeding national estimates of 13.5 percent for all Americans.  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817190650.htm)

This is true of coconut generation – girls have higher propensity than boys. When cultural and gender issues collide, crisis becomes acute. It is never as intense as during adolescence. Being a teenager is hard in all cultures, but children of immigrants suffer severly. Children of Asian immigrants particularly suffer where gender bias is adversely stands against women. Thus teen girls growing up in Asian immigrant  dysfunctional homes are more inclined to consider ‘final exit’ more seriously.

So youth ministry in churches, school counselors and parents have a critical role of developing healthy relationships with teens to navigate children thro this difficult stage of life. Modern living makes it harder and we are pushed into isolation. Virtual relationships are not enough either. Teens need trusting real relationship, even when they lack relationship skills to sustain it.

Youth mentoring is powerful. Big brother, big sister program are so effective. Take some young people under your wings. Believe in them. Listen to them. be there for them. Ministry of availability and ministry of presence can make life transforming impact on the lives of teens.

 

My Interview with L2 Blog August 14, 2009

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 6:16 pm

L2 Foundation is a network of Asian American Christian leaders. I was interviewed about Connext Conf. Check it out for yourself.

Interview

 

Connext – conference for South Asian Leaders August 11, 2009

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 5:25 am

Register Online – www.ConnextOnline.org