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Half Moon Bay, California

Teacher: Olfana

Topic: Excerpt from Understanding Disaffected Youth

July 20, 2000

From: SK

Hi everyone,

For anyone who has dealt with raising a disaffected, or rebellious young person, I thought you might appreciate these words of counsel from Olfana.

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Excerpt: Olfana on "Understanding Today's Disaffected or Rebellious Youth"

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Student: Olfana, I'm so grateful for the progress my daughter has made since the last time we spoke.

Olfana: There are many reasons to feel heartened regarding your daughter's development. She is recognizing in herself powers and potentials that she did not trust in, up until recently. And it had much to do with why she would escape into a narcotic euphoria of one kind or another. That, perhaps, she did not have "what it takes," as it were, to handle life effectively. And she is getting past that anxiety.

Please, try to remember, try to hold on to the idea that this is much more overwhelming and emotionally provocative world that these young people are entering into. The most you and S. faced in terms of "world anxieties" were, perhaps, the question of over-population and a limited perspective, perhaps, about some of the species on the planet. But, My God, look what these young people face, now, in the way of potential fears...

"Will my life be touched by AIDS? Will my life be touched by violence? Will my life be touched by the plagues, the potentials of the world chaos, the remaining concerns regarding nuclear violence and the instability of the world?"

By the time you and S. approached your college years, you both had some sense of confidence that the world stress of the nuclear problems would, indeed, be dealt with. There was the sense that the authorities in charge did somehow know what they were doing. But, these children have seen so many examples of adult ineptitude, ways in which the very leaders of the world are not, indeed, responsible people, at times, not capable of handling the moral vicissitudes that they are expected to administer and respond to. No wonder they wish to escape, at times. No wonder they "get cold feet" about what they will do with their own particular life amidst all the chaos that they are led to feel exists in the world.Student: Fear of having children, too.

Olfana: Fear of "you name it." What area of life can you think that they face without a sense that there could be a problem? Their careers? Will they have a marriage that will remain stable? Will the air be breathable by the time they have grandchildren? Will the oceans continue to die? What part of life is not in some way tinged with this deep anxiety for them, now? And, you see it in their music. You see it in the markings, the tattoos, the violence, the way they dress. They are crying out with this deep anxiety and, at times, the rest of us, and I do not necessarily include The Teachers, but I am speaking as if I am now with you, the rest of the world can sometimes merely look on and say, "My God, look at those nose piercings. How hideous! My God, who would want such a tattoo on their arm by the time they reach their forties?"

Some of these children have no faith they will live that long. It is that deep a sense of despair and anxiety. So be patient with your daughter. Speak of your own hopes for the world. Encourage her just as you now see in the example of Ct. (S's daughter, 20 years old), being encouraged. That there is, indeed, hope for the world. That there are good things astir. That you not only hope for this, but, you see evidence of it. And as long as you say this in a soft, companionable way, she will not feel assaulted by too much of your cheerleader-like energy, at times, which she will definitely respond to, back off from. (Smiling) Do you understand the dynamic I speak of here?

Student: (Smiling) My overbearing enthusiasm.

Olfana: (Smiling) Yes. As thought she needs to adopt this because you believe it so strongly. Rather than, this is your perspective that you're sharing with her, and now she needs to think about these things. She needs to decide if this is something that feels comfortable, that she can incorporate into herself.

And believe me, the doors are open right now. Your daughter is listening. She is not in the same shut off, shut down, retained mood. And you have real opportunities to help guide her now. Also, her friends are changing, her associations. And this is all to the good. And, again, if you can support her in the fact that she is welcome to bring her friends around you. You might propose, for instance, 'Why not, let's go to lunch? Why not, you pick a friend, and let's the three of us go out for lunch. My treat." And just offer that sense of a social opportunity for her. And I encourage you to look for good results from such activities. (end of excerpt)Half Moon Bay, CA Teaching Mission Group