“Society’s expectations push youth towards achieving rather than relating”
Christian counsellor, Emoke Tapolyai, warns about “the culture that feeds young people with the lie of `you can have it all´”, and analyses how to help them cope with the anxiety that it brings.
Forum of Christian Leaders · WISLA (POLAND) · 24 JUNE 2020 · 11:00 CET
Many young people and teenagers are fighting anxiety and depression worldwide. The pressure of society leads them to hopelessness, emotional distress and even cynicism.
Why is this happening? How can adults, churches and society in general help young people break free from their pressures?
According to clinical pastoral counsellor and an executive coach, Emoke Tapolyai, “our culture feeds our teenagers with the lies of you can have it all, you can do it all, and this pressure, not only produce anxiety, but it also affects our relationships”.
“Those expectations really push our youth towards achieving rather than relating […] The demands to have a perfect self-made visibility, takes away our desire to build a character that is transparent and capable of building valid, solid,intimate relationships”, she added in an interview at the European Leadership Forum in Wisla, Poland.
Tapolyai pointed out that “there is a great relief when we realise that we really have a Saviour who is walking through this life with us. If we give into this, and we can help youth to understand it, the pressure will really get of their and our shoulders”.
“We need to teach out youth, not to have a monologue in prayer, but to wait for God to answer. We have to teach them to talk with God in a way that they will know that, whatever they are going through, God is going to be present”, Tapolyai concluded.
You can read the interview below.
Clinical pastoral counsellor and an executive coach, Emoke Tapolyai. / FOCL.
Question. How do conventional expectations exhaust our youth?
Answer. Most of the conventional expectations come form families and society, saying that they quickly have to come to a stable financial stability; that they have to get married and have the best marriages.
Those expectations really push our youth towards achieving rather than relating. It can highly affect them, because, when we disregard relationships, and we start focusing on what I am, and what can I produce, or how can I tick the boxes and said I have done all these things that they expect from me, there is a possibility of forgetting about connecting.
We know that in today world, one of the greatest needs that we have, and with we are short of I s valuable, solid relationships.
Q. What is the result of the lies our culture feeds teenagers?
A. Our culture feeds our teenagers with the lies of “you can have it all, you can do it all, everybody sees you and you are visible to the entire world”, and this pressure, these lies, not only produce anxiety, but it also affects our relationships.
Our youth sacrifices intimacy and intimate relationships for visibility. The demands to meet up the expectations of being visible and have a perfect self-made visibility, takes away our approach, our desire to build a character that is transparent and capable of building valid, solid,intimate relationships.
Q. How can the grace of God counteract anxiety?
A. If we understand how God loves us and how He delights in us. If we understands that He has been, He is, and He will be with us, that is a great reason for our anxiety to lower, because, what could I be afraid of?, what is the pressure that I should worry about?, if the Creator, the Saviour, the Father says: “I delight in you and I love you”.
But in order to really understand, it is important to know that it is not really a cognitive a thing, it is a heart thing.
We are so much in a hurry, that we do not have time to slow down and to really hear Him saying “I love you, I delight in you and I am with you”.
Q. How can we offer Christ as liberation for young people today?
A. One of the greatest pressures for young people today, is thee idea of “I have to do it all on my own”. Christ brings liberation form this pressure, because He says : “I am with you”.
The entire Bible talks about Him being with us, not matter what we go through. Knowing and experiencing this, can be such an extra strength that we cannot get from anywhere else.
There is a great relief for youth, and for all, when we realise that we are not alone in this that we really have a Saviour who is walking through this life with us, saying that it will not be just in this life, but there will be one day when you will be with Him, because He created us to be with Him, and He will never leave us, because, whatever we are going through, He desires to experience us with Him.
If we give into this, and we can help youth to understand it, the pressure will really get of their and our shoulders.
Q. How should we teach young people to pray?
A. Prayer is a relationship, a connection, with God; it is talking to God and just putting it all out to Him, saying: “God, You are the all-knowing God, You understand more than I do”.
We need to teach out youth, not to have a monologue in prayer, where they just say it all and then put an Amen at the end and leave it there.
That is how we most of the time do it, but if we teach them that, when we say a prayer, before our Amen, we wait for God to answer, then, we will actually be able to bring them to the presence of God, and teach them to talk with God in a way that they will know that, whatever they are going through, God is going to be present.
I do not think that I can stress enough the importance of knowing that God is present, because that is the freedom of all. It is the only freedom we really have.
The most important thing is, can we come and talk to God, who says: I am here, I hear you, and I do have answers for you”?
About Emoke Talpoyai
She is a member of the American Association of Christian Counsellors (AACC) and the Hungarian Association of Sexologists.
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