UP13. The second side of the coin: today’s youth

Inspired by a clever Greek woman, Kalomoira Estianidi, who answers many questions about philosophy on an online platform, I also experienced an aha moment. It's about the multifaceted nature of almost all human problems. The "Fridays for Future" movement has sensitised all of us to the future of today's youth. We, the older ones, should not "ruin" the future of the youth. They need the planet no less than we do. But I, as the multiple grandfather of adolescents and young adults, should also have come to Mrs Estianidi's thought long ago that this medal of "the future of youth" also has a second side.

In her profile on Quora platform, Ms Estianidi writes about herself thus: "Interpersonal relationships are my main priorities. Getting to know myself and others is a constant process that makes me think and that I value very much. ... My growing concern is to make our future world better. Everyone says, 'We should leave a better planet for our children,' but as a teacher I humbly say, 'Let's try to leave better children for our planet!'"

It is exactly the last sentence that is fundamentally at stake here. Not only do young people need a better (clean, green, living) world, but this world, our planet, needs better youth. By better youth, I mean above all responsible, energetic, but also healthy youth. The Corona pandemic has highlighted the problem of the rapidly deteriorating health of young people. But the problem itself is much older than this pandemic. It is the problem of young people's inability to replace the interpersonal relationships they lack with some "virtual" activity. And they increasingly lack interpersonal relationships because their families are increasingly disintegrating. In 2020, Germany had 41.5 million private households. And only 11.6 million of them were families with children. Let's remember this figure: almost three out of four households no longer house any children at all. And another frightening statistic. In 69% of all private households there are no people older than 65. But in every fourth private household there is someone over 65 living all alone. Where are the remaining children left in our society supposed to practice interpersonal relationships with their grandparents' generation? It is clear that they keep to themselves. Or only try to remain so. Because the "likes" cannot replace real relationships.

The natural structures of our families are disintegrating. And we all stand idly by, even join in. We allow the sleep disorders, anxiety states and even the panic attacks of children and young people to be covered up with antidepressants. This smells suspiciously criminal. Antidepressants for children cannot heal the disintegrating structures of most German families. That is why in my latest book I plead for a new direction towards a Familiar Democracy, which is urgently needed. Inform yourself and become active. Demographic decay is much faster than climate change. There are no "renewables" for social coldness.

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