Youth Speak Out at Rock Eisteddfod 2009 – “Everything is Okay,” Really?

What do war, social climbing, the world financial crisis, depression, Fascist oppression, choices in life, and genetically modified foods all have in common? They are the collective concerns of the most current generation of youth; not so much drugs, sex, or Swine Flu.

All themes selected at the Western Australian Schools Rock Eisteddfod Challenge and J Rock 2009 had strong moral overtones together with subtle ethical nuances filtering through–the issue underpinning triple-bottom-line[1] outcomes. I found this encouraging as we’re so quick to think the world is in rapid moral ‘sinkhole’ decline.

Judging on this event, our world is in healthy hands venturing into the next generation; but our youth still look to us for hope, security and direction, without being inordinately hampered and constrained (by us) so they’re able to contribute openly, freely, vivaciously.

And let us not be lulled into thinking kids today don’t care for history; two of the eight acts were set in the 1940’s World War II genre.


Judges Too Are Judged

It wasn’t only the performers themselves who felt the strain of the acid-test, but the judges too showed marks of nervousness, as they creatively tiptoed through their synopses. Pressure in the moment of the spotlight reveals our character more than any other ordinary thing.

Perhaps with eyes to judge like they do in Dancing with the Stars each judge showed the discerning just how human they really are. That was both refreshing and uninspiring, depending on the viewpoint. All who perform feel the heat; it’s the ultimate test of competence.

Not Everyone Can Be Called ‘Winner’

It’s a cruel trick of life to compete, allowing fanciful thoughts of crowning glory, only to end up an also-ran. It’s not until we compete (in anything in life) that we realise how very big the pack actually is–it’s a big world.

It’s a reality every one of us has tasted and will taste again. There’s nothing more typical and ordinary than a polished placegetter without the winner’s trophy. And such little separates each of them, but this ‘little’ is supremely significant.

“No Happy Endings” i.e. end result, Depression

My wife spotted this obvious-in-hindsight overall premise; there weren’t many happy endings. Our youth are so concerned with adult-world issues that it is easy to see them living with little real hope. Perhaps they can’t see hope ahead for all the dire poisoned issues mentioned earlier.

In this way we forget how burdened our youth really are–and these are the ones with a voice, for many are invisible. One banner facetiously insisted that “Everything is Okay.” That’s a sad, numbed and ignorant state of being that the youth actually detest. They fervently seek truth, as youth always have. As my pastor tells me, young people can smell insincerity and lies a mile off.

Real world issues continue to frighten youth. They’re faced with prospect of taking up the toxic chalice. All youth are affected by the devastating themes presented, and more. There’s little wonder that 1 in 5 youth are depressed.


This event was a unique, unembellished window into the youth psyche.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

We must somehow identify with the sense of daunting reality represented by our youth, getting them used to life skill and resilience techniques which only faith can truly help with.

It is said (and seen here) the youth strongly identify with the moral world; it is our task, in the adult world, to position faith as an attractive option empowering the possessor toward life, and that abundant–making faith a relevant response to moralistic issues, which it is.

It’s the only effective counter-argument to the depressed reality of living life in this world.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] The ‘Triple Bottom Line’ is commonly concern for issues related to the social, environmental and economic, or ‘people, planet, profit’–all three are strongly dependent on moral and ethical consideration and action. The world cannot function properly without strong moral/ethical recourse.