Ho Holds BarredWhat do young people care about? What are their concerns, dreams, worries, aspirations and fears?

How do parents allow their children enough freedom to explore the world outside while protecting them against things that could harm them? And how do teachers convince students to dedicate themselves to a life of hard work when the loudest messages in society promote pleasure and getting everything easily? 

These are questions that many adults ask every day. But the answers aren’t that easy to find. Even parents find it hard to uncover what is really going on inside the minds and hearts of their own children. It’s not just a generational gap – the chasm between young and old is widened by the rapid developments in technology and the way the world works. 

Arguably, the people best placed to tap into the world of the young and their individual lives are those in between – those who are young enough to adapt just as easily as the wired generation yet old enough to share with them the experiences and advice that parents would love to impart to their kids. 

This is just what Oliver Tuazon intimately shares with us in his new book No Holds Barred. Inviting us into his conversations with young people over the years of his extensive work with them, Tuazon not only reveals to us what goes through their minds, but how to inspire them to live a life of virtue and play an active role in society. 

Written in short spurts on plane trips while recalling friendly chats with young people he has mentored, Tuazon leads us through an extensive but very conversational Q&A spanning broad and intriguing topics. 

Whether it’s the first taste of love, habits with internet and gaming, problems with study or reading, or issues with contraception and sex, No Holds Barred deals with them all in good taste, but in honest intimacy as well. 

Above all, Tuazon makes the pursuit of virtue an attractive model for self-fulfilment, revealing to his young friends that nothing comes easy, and that struggle is more than worthwhile. 

Here’s a few questions from Tuazon’s friends to give you a bit of a taste:

But you are jumping into conclusions. How could billboards affect the way we dress up?

You mean it is wrong to have those sex scenes in movies? How will they portray the reality of sex?

What’s wrong with giving in to what I feel like doing?

I feel heavy. I begin to loathe anything that requires effort. Then, I find myself just surfing the Net and playing video games the whole day.

Perhaps I just have to find ways to spend more time with real friends. Can we talk about friendship then?

And here are some reactions to Tuazon’s advice:

That’s too much. I can’t do that!

Oh, I can’t say that to them.

You seem to be so passionate about this topic.

That’s ridiculous.

Okay. I did not realise that.

It’s the sort of book that every adult should read if they are in a position of influence over young people. And it’s a book every young person should read if they want some clever and uplifting answers to the ideas and proposals bouncing about in their heads. 

Never before has there been such a dearth of good leaders and role models for the young. The most famous and valuable models on the world stage are the successful people in the entertainment industry – an industry where achievement is oftentimes built not on virtue but on physical beauty and the hunger of the masses for novelty. 

Tuazon reminds us in vivid light that each young person is searching for an ideal; an ideal that is increasingly in short supply, or at least seems to be due to a modern media and entertainment industry that is blind to true leadership and lasting happiness. 

Whether you find yourself taking the role of the advisor, or the voice asking the questions and blurting out what is on their mind, you’ll finish with an appreciation not just of where young people find themselves in the world but what they really want. 

You’ll also find that isn’t so different to what the rest of us want too, and Tuazon gives plenty of timely reminders of how we can all get there. 

No Holds Barred will be launched at Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street, The Fort, Taguig City, Metro Manila on July 27, Friday, from 7 to 9 PM.  It will be available from that day onwards at leading bookstores in the Philippines such as Fully Booked, National Book Store, Powerbooks, Pauline and Totus.  You may also purchase it as an e-book at Amazon.  For bulk orders, you can contact Cobrin Publishing at us@cobr.in.  For more information, you can visit www.cobr.in/tuazon.

Alex Perrottet is an Australian journalist currently living in New Zealand and the contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch.