The Youth of Today By Ruth Foulkes

The youth of today have power and insight

They have the world at their fingertips

They have freedom of speech.

The youth of today are reluctant to form opinions

They are lonely in their connectedness

They are unable to express themselves.

Technology is the gem to brighten our existence.

Technology is the shadow that challenges our morals.

It allows us to multitask and do no one thing effectively.

It connects us to millions but not to intimate relationships.

Technology is a tool that can be used wisely or not.

Youth are young people, as diverse as the world which they inhabit.

We can learn from them.

Those who are wise will learn from each other,

Young and old alike.

We all have the capacity to inspire and support each other 

to become the best version of ourselves.

What do I notice about the youth of today that inspires me? What do I notice about the youth of today on which I can reflect so as to enhance my understanding of my own position in the world?

In my work I see many disempowered young people, full of anxiety, lacking the skills to communicate their feelings and needs, disengaged and seemingly antisocial.

On the other side of the coin I see many young people empowered, full of confidence, eloquent and with a massive social conscience.

I take my lessons from them all, aspiring to the positive and sensitive to the negative. I look to the role I play and have played in their perceptions of themselves. How have my actions impacted, my 20th century ideals on their 21st century life. How have I offered opportunities for risk taking in a safe environment? What have I done to support them in their development of skills to negotiate the challenges and pitfalls of the current day? 

If I am not careful, just like many before me, I will fall into the never ending trap of;

What if? 

What might have been? 

If only… and, 

What could have been? 

But that is not helpful, neither is looking back through rose tinted spectacles to endless summer sunshine making our own harmless fun playing in the dirt with sticks and string…turning a blind eye to the times we almost hung ourselves on the swing rope, drowned in the river or burnt ourselves playing with fire.

Instead I am going to recognise all the positives in those young people who inspire me to wake up each day to do better than I did the day before. Young people who include my children, friends of my children, and the children of my own friends and family.

Young people inspire me through their courage. How they see what they want out of life and they push themselves to that end. They have a much more holistic view of the world, and the variety within it; they have an increased awareness of injustice and are therefore more inclusive. They show empathy and compassion. Young people know they deserve a good education and to have their needs met, and this I believe channels them into being better citizens of tomorrow. They are future looking from a grassroots level so they have a bottom up approach to leadership and the role they can play in forging a better future. They are environmentally conscious and challenge us about decisions we have made. They look for accountability and show participatory citizenship. They are active agents of change and unafraid to be seen. Networking is their way of being and they use it with effect.

Those growing up in the 21st century do not exist in the same world I grew up in, they have adapted for a world that they grew up in.

Let us not forget, as Nelson Mandela said: “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow”. 

Share this...
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *