Qualities of Youth

Joseph Chilton Pearce explained that youths often experience three felt qualities that most adults in their lives fail to understand and honor. The first is an energetic idealism, sometimes raw and exaggerated but nonetheless true in its core nature. Youths begin to see the limitations and failures of adults and envision the possibility of rectifying the failures and exceeding the limitations. This idealism may seem unrealistic to adults, but within the current context of accelerating evolu-tionary change in human culture, who can claim that they know for certain what’s realistic and what is not?


Second, many or most youths experience a feeling of great expectations for their own lives. For most this is a barely conscious recognition that we each have the capacity to experience a calling in our lives and that a calling is the expression of the will, which is the expression of the soul. Even youths who have had very restricted or repressed lives in childhood can open to a sort of transparency in these years during which they gain some felt sense of their souls. Youths experience their souls as an attraction, a strong curiosity, a pull in a particular direction in life, or a clearly articulated calling.

Third, many or most youths experience a feeling of what Pearce calls “hidden greatness.” While youths are prone to self-centeredness as a regular part of their unfoldment, this feeling of “hidden greatness” is something different. It’s another way that the soul can come into the consciousness of the youth, sometimes as a whisper and other times as a shout. And it can be a feeling of wholeness—or of the potential for wholeness. This feeling of “hidden greatness” can should be respected and valued, not ridiculed. It’s a vehicle through which youths can know that what they do matters in the world, that they have a real contribution to offer.

Youth in Profile: Peyton Klein

peyton klein

Peyton Klein believes that cultural intolerance, ignorance, and insensitivity must be replaced with cultural understanding and inclusion.

When Peyton learned that the young student who wore a hijab and sat behind her in class for months spoke English, Peyton was embarrassed. She thought the young woman didn’t understand the language. Peyton and Khwala became close friends, and Peyton realized she needed to find a way for Khwala and other English-as-a-Second-Language students to feel comfortable and supported, not bullied or misunderstood. At age 15 Peyton created a program within her high school called the Global Minds Initiative. She has raised more than $100,000 for the program that has spread into seven states, Canada, and China. In this for-youth, by-youth after-school program, native English-speaking students and English-as-a-Second-Language students are paired together. They work on homework, practice conversational English, participate jointly in activities centered on diversity, human rights, and equality, and enjoy outings such as going to movies and restaurants.

Youth in Profile: Ayush Alag

Ayush Alag was 14 years old when he decided that there needed to be a better way to test for food allergies.

After three years of research and development, mostly at his parents’ home in Santa Clara, Ayush created a type of DNA test that could someday be used to quickly identify whether someone has a deadly food allergy or an inconvenient but not life-threatening sensitivity. “My thinking was, with the technology we have out there, why is there not something better? I’ve always seen science and technology as the golden key,” said Ayush, who is 17 and a senior at the Harker School in San Jose. “I realized this was a really under-researched space in medicine, and that I could really contribute to it.”

ayush alag