Financial issues, mental health problems, overconsumption, and corruption— today’s youth live a life full of threats from negative external factors.
Most of our youth struggle to find a life of purpose and support in this fast-paced world; that’s why spirituality becomes a shield to protect themselves against instability.
In this article, you’ll learn the importance of spirituality for today’s youth, their spiritual challenges, and how to help them grow spiritually.
Spirituality and the Youth (A Blooming Relationship)
Before you delve into the connection between spirituality and the youth, it’s crucial to know what spirituality is first.
Spirituality is a personal experience where you create a system of personal belief while searching for your life’s purpose. It gives you something greater than the material world can offer.
Brick Johnstone from Psychology Today explained that spirituality is a universal human experience that all of us undergo.
We can have different definitions of spirituality. Some may describe it as transcendent or sacred. For some, spirituality is a deep sense of interconnectedness and aliveness.
Going back, a common misconception about today’s youth is that they are slowly forsaking their belief in a higher power or distancing themselves from religion and spiritual practices.
However, a survey released by the Springtide Research Institute in 2021 found that this is not the case.
Instead of distancing themselves from religion and spiritual practices, our youth, particularly Generation Z (born between 1997-2012), are establishing new bonds with religion and spirituality.
The Springtide Research Institute’s report in 2021 found the following:
- Most Gen Zs regard themselves as religious or spiritual. They just don’t want to tie or identify themselves with an institution.
- Almost half of the respondents the institute surveyed believe in the existence of a higher power at some level, but they just don’t believe in a higher power.
Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they feel connected to nature, and thirty-nine percent said they feel connected to humanity.
From these findings, you will see how the youth also opt for several sources of faith rather than sticking to traditional religious institutions.
- The respondents also state that identifying with a particular spirituality or religion does not mean they are tied to certain religious or spiritual practices.
Exploring different spiritual and religious practices is one of the ways Gen Zs determine how their faith is connected to their everyday life.
- A majority of the respondents believe that religious and spiritual life is significant for mental health.
Gen Z is turning to a new form of spirituality, and technology has something to do with this phenomenon, explained Ophelie Lepert, a consultant at NellyRodi, during her interview with Chloe Delecolle.
According to her, finding references in today’s world full of social issues can be complex, especially for today’s youth. Because of this, most young people resort to the internet, which increases their exposure to social media.
Social media introduces a new belief system to them, composed of adaptable rituals, self-care methods, and ways to find solutions for the future.
Ophelie Lepert added that this universal and polymorphic connection of Gen Z with spirituality is gradually established through their readings and the videos they watched on social media.
They will pick the most important information and modify it according to their needs. That’s why, if you notice, today’s generation curates their spirituality from different cultures and backgrounds depending on their spiritual needs.
This is because the availability of information today makes it easy to choose and oversee our learning process.
As Digital Natives of the information age, the youth are utilizing technology to build their spiritual path and protect themselves against instability.
Technology is not just a means of communication; it also became their primary resource in finding their spiritual purpose.
Why Is Spirituality Important for the Youth?
With their curious minds, today’s young generation does not want to be tied down. They always question their reality— seeking answers that will lead them to self-fulfillment.
Because of this, spirituality is like an ocean for those who continuously seek ways to connect deeper with themselves.
Religious standards do not restrict them, and they have the liberty to choose which spiritual path they’ll walk in.
Life can be harsh and suffocating for the youth, and spirituality serves as a rapport that gives them inner peace and contentment. They are reminded to accept and learn from hardships while appreciating life’s blessings.
Life can also be depressing for them, and there’s spirituality to steady them. Spirituality helps them find their life’s purpose according to their pace and volition.
They don’t have to seek external sources to learn as they have their soul as their teacher.
Spiritual Challenges Faced by the Youth
Andy Blanks from Youth Ministry 360 shared that there are five reasons young people struggle with forming spiritual habits.
1. Lack of time.
The younger generation has a lot on their plates. They juggle school work, extracurricular activities, work, social activities, and home responsibilities.
With plenty of things to do, they lack time for their spiritual development. Time becomes a challenge when it comes to incorporating spiritual and religious practices into their life.
2. Having a hard time reading the scripture.
Religious scriptures can be challenging for young people and even adults to understand immediately, which causes a disconnect between the reader and the medium.
The readers might find the scripture overwhelming and uninteresting if there’s a disconnect. That’s why Andy Blanks reminded the importance of Bible Study groups as it helps readers understand the message of the scripture better.
3. Cultural differences.
Religious and spiritual practices can clash with the culture people find themselves in. Aside from this, they might find religious and spiritual teachings parallel to their values and principles, which might cause them to dismiss the idea of learning them.
4. Parents’ collaboration.
As much as needed, parent collaboration can be beneficial when instilling religious and spiritual teachings in young people.
Some parents and their children have the same religious or spiritual principles. But there are also those who don’t, which might lead to a clash of beliefs.
5. Fear of growth.
Change can be overwhelming, especially if it’s personal growth. Often, young people find it hard to step outside their comfort zone and explore new things beyond those they are used to.
Encouraging them to discover different doors of opportunities to grow is important in helping them pave their spiritual path.
How Can Youth Grow Spiritually?
Spirituality is not a one-way path. It can happen to anyone spontaneously or intentionally.
It’s crucial to let young people spread their wings and discover the spiritual path they want to travel on to help them grow spiritually. With the right guidance, let them choose the spiritual practices they want to integrate into their daily life and the teachings they want to absorb.
Always remind them that spiritually growing doesn’t mean using their new-found strength for their self-interest but for the common good.
Wrapping It Up!
Contrary to what most believe, the young generation is establishing a new relationship with spirituality.
Spirituality is an ocean that helps them discover more about their purpose while appreciating life’s beauty.
With their curious and always-on-the-go nature, they don’t want to be restrained by societal standards, so spirituality became one outlet for expressing and discovering themselves.
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