Youth Empowerment through the Humanities

The difference between “having power” and “being empowered” is quite unclear. Although the commonality between the two terms is the existence of the capacity to do things others cannot do, how will then the people of minor age or the youth, take on power?

One illustration of how a person of minor age (15-24 years old), the youth group, can be empowered is presented in the historical fiction book Blood for Freedom: On a Mission Among the Mayas. The mandatory military training for the minor-aged boy in the book, and the maturity of the young boys as presented through their knowledge of protection, societal needs, and their Mayan culture, reflect empowerment.

The Cambridge University Press in 2021 has included understanding human behavior and the ability to express or communicate, as one way to define the humanities. In the book, it is clear that the humanities are exposed to the young generations. How is it possible? It starts with understanding why they think the way they already do. The youth in Guatemala during the 1970s to 1980s civilian war for example, already have hindsight on what is happening in their society. Unfortunately, they are involved in a situation that necessitates doubling up their age when they act and think for themselves, their family, and their community. However, this introduces how the humanities can empower the youth.

Being critical, inquisitive, and mindful of the current events and how they will affect them, are the impacts of the humanities on the youth. Information and news in the digital age spread like a contagious disease. The message is clear: the future of the youth depends on empowering them by using their knowledge as an asset that can be passed on to others, like a domino effect that can influence other people’s actions. The humanities will prepare an informed youth to actualize the power they have for themselves in an attempt to change something.

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