the 10 commandments of (european) youth

fascinating post over on ypulse the other day, culled from an mtv sticky report called youthtopia (a study of hopes and dreams). the study describes itself this way: “In the first-ever effort to understand the values, hopes and dreams of young people in Europe, MTV asked over 7,000 youths to imagine their ideal world and to consider brands as people and whether those ‘people’ would be welcome in their world –‘Youthtopia’.”

one aspect of the study (conducted among european youth) involved asking 100 european youth to re-write the 10 commandments to reflect their values. the ypulse author rightly suggests: The results paint more than a flattering self-portrait of this generation as an aspirational model for society — one that tellingly promotes accountability, positivity and passion above all else.

here they are:

The Ten Commandments of Youth

1. Have faith in yourself.
2. Respect your parents.
3. Be honest.
4. Take responsibility for your own life.
5. Live life to the fullest and be passionate.
6. Keep your promises.
7. Work hard to succeed but not to the detriment of others.
8. Be tolerant of others’ differences.
9. Be happy and optimistic, even in adversity.
10. Create, don’t destroy.

wow. choose to get past any weirdness you might be experiencing about “re-writing the 10 commandments” — that isn’t the point here! seriously, there’s some great stuff in here! this would make a very cool teaching series, including some connection with and reflection on the actual/original 10 commandments (many of which are covered in this “new” list!).

15 thoughts on “the 10 commandments of (european) youth”

  1. Marko, what do you think this list would look like if MTV polled American youth? More importantly, what would this list look like if it were discerned from the way youth actually live their lives?

  2. I’m actually quite impressed with this list. It’s good enough to print off and post on a wall. I’d be proud if the kids in my life tried to live up to these commandments.

  3. I agree with Joseph. they aren’t living their lives as though this is what they value and where is God?He’s not even on the radar. Where is serving? is life all about being happy?

  4. I agree, Adam, the list is pretty impressive. And except for wanting to add something about knowing and serving God, I agree that I would love for my students to live this in their lives. The point I was making is that this list looks pretty different from what I and others observe in real life. There is much research to show that there is a growing disconnect between what young people say they believe and their actions. I think if we extrapolated a list from what we observe in youth culture, there would be some bright spots, yes, but on the whole I think it would look pretty different.

    That’s not to say that I don’t hold out any hope. I am extremely hopeful that this generation will be an instrument of transformation through Jesus’ power. The process is still ongoing, however.

  5. The only addendum needed to make this a thoroughly Christian list is tweaking the 1st one to say “have faith in God: who has created you and proclaimed you ‘very good'”

  6. Not saying I don’t like it (I do, particularly with the #1 tweaked to include God and not self), but

    it’s every show of Sesame Street ever created (which shows you how good Sesame Street is)

    as to no living out stated beliefs – growing distance between “conviction” and action…perhaps…but I’d argue it’s standard operating procedure for fallen humanity to say we believe one thing and then to prove we don’t by our actions

  7. I think this list is surprisingly accurate. I do think it shows a difference in the role of the church in Europe. If those youth were polled in America I would hope there would be at least one or two of the two influenced by the teachings of Jesus.

  8. yeah, there’s no question it’s not god-centered. that was to be expected — they weren’t asking christian young people! and, yes, i totally agree (as did the ypulse author i quoted) that this is idealistic, and likely doesn’t exactly mirror true behavior (though — let’s be honest — our behavior doesn’t always mirror our agreement to the original 10 commandments either!!).

    as for how i think the list would be different if it were U.S. young adults who created it: the big surprise on the list for me was “respect your parents.” i think family and respect for older people is much more a part of the european value system, and that “commandment” wouldn’t be on the U.S. list. otherwise, i think it might be fairly similar. there might be a “be true to yourself” kind of thing on there, reflecting american individualism.

  9. The interesting thing about this list being un-God centered are the remarkable qualities that scream out a sense of God fingerprints all over it.
    Self-respect, respect for others, honesty, integrity, staying hopeful, creating… loving others, working hard -= they scream out the echo of what we hope that Godliness looks like in our young people. I find it encouraging. Because I think the recognition of the importance of those ideals is key to recognizing the real truth of who God is when He’s encountered.

  10. an interesting study! Many young people are looking for meaning and purpose and are very variable in their views. In a big convention in las vegas once, it was realised that young people did not really know what they wanted and the big companies realised that they had to tell young people what they wanted!

  11. As someone who has worked in the US as a youth minister for 15 years and has for the past 18 months been living in the UK doing youth ministry…this list accurately represents the duality of culture here…Church of England…most schools are C of E with full uniforms, the Bishops of the C of E are major public figures, but the culture, live and morality is very secular post-Christian as reflected by these ’10 commandments’.
    Further proof that the UK and Europe needs more people like you all to join us here to slowly reverse the fact that 97% of youth workers serve 3% of the population.

  12. Tash: Love your comment! I totally agree that although God isn’t mentioned overtly here, Divine fingerprints are all over it.


    Because we are created in the image of the Divine! Furthermore, all creation is full of the Christ. Whether or not Christ has been revealed in all of creation is a different story. But Christ is present in humanity nonetheless. Given this, could it be that once we realize the need for Christ to be revealed in us, then having faith in ourselves IS (in a sense) having faith in Christ because we recognize that He is the only good thing at work in us and through us? I realize that the youth who wrote these commandments probably were not thinking this, but I think the statement of the need for faith is evidence of the Divine that is at work in them. Just a thought…..

    If we can look at these 10 commandments from an alternative perspective, then I think we can see the hope of glory that lies within the youth who spoke these refreshing words.

  13. God should be mentioned
    as well as socail responcibility of no valgur language ,tagging binge drinking
    as well as responcible driving.
    Care and consideration for elderly too.

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