The youth of today are the future, so they should be raised with good values, responsibility, respect for themselves and for one another. We want to mould them to be people we are proud of, embracing different cultures and seeing the human race as one! Children value what they are taught and they emulate what they see. As they are constantly watching the adults around them, there is the need for adults to be mindful of their actions and their decision making processes especially the decisions that affect the young people. We adults should be good role models at all times and be seen to practice what we preach. We should support the youth to develop a vast array of skills that would enhance their future careers.
I have found out that having a vision, passion and truly caring for the development of the youth in our society would make engaging with them more inspiring, more enjoyable and sustainable. Empowering the youth to identify and respond to community needs, would help them to become empathetic and reflective young individuals. This would prepare them to continue supporting charity or other forms of work in the future. With fresh energy and insight, they would be able to add value to their immediate environment, community and country.
I have seen many youth making fantastic contributions either through helping their peers at school, volunteering and supporting the local communities, churches, and so on - I cannot thank them enough for their efforts so far.
The more we encourage the youth to focus not only on education but to develop their analytical and critical skills, support other sectors of society and contribute to the future growth of the country, the more we would be optimistic about the future - 'the future of a country always lies in the hands of the youth' hence equipping the youth of today, will aid countries to nurture great leaders of tomorrow.
Mahatma Gandhi said "the Future depends on what you do today"
For the youth to have prepared for tomorrow's leadership role, they would need to have strong foundation not only in education but in other areas like leadership attributes such as building relationships, communications, negotiation and persuasive skills, extracurricular activities etc. I am a firm believer in "starting them young" I involved my children in various activities from a young age. This helped them decide on the particular areas of life that they had keen interests in.
Every child is of a different composition but as adults and carers, we would be able to identify a child who is ready to absorb advanced information that would benefit him / her and the society overall. There is nothing wrong in exposing the youth to the socio-economic, cultural and spiritual well being of the community/ country they live in. When they grow older and are in a position of influence, they will be well informed as leaders, to make a contributions to their own growth and that of their community/country. When the youths become uncomfortable with certain negative issues in the world, they will make decisions to make corrections and create an impact. There are so many young people who have made critical success and impact in the world today either as entrepreneurs, activists or by leaving behind remarkable legacy at a very young age. Such people include but not limited to:
Melati and Isabel Wijsen: Two sisters from the Indonesian island of Bali who started the Bye Bye Plastic Bags at the ages of 10 and 12, after being inspired by a lesson in school about significant people, like Nelson Mandela, Lady Diana, and Mahatma Ghandi.
They campaigned to ban plastic bags locally and to reduce the impact of plastic waste globally. Which has decreased the global usage of single-use plastic. Well done girls!
Kelvin Doe: A young African inventor from Sierra Leone who began looking for ways to fix the local problems by using technology. By the age of 13 years old, he was powering neighbourhood houses with batteries made out of acid, soda and metal in a tin cup. He went on to build a community radio station out of recycled parts that he powered with a generator also made out of reused material. This young inventor has really impressed me and a lot of people around the world with his innovative approach to life!
Malala Yousafzai: A Pakistani activist for female education who gained the world's attention after being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan on her way to school because she was an advocate for women pursuing education. At the age of 17, she became the youngest person to receive a Nobel Prize for her humanitarian efforts. She is currently working towards her bachelor's degree at Oxford's Lady Margaret Hall while continuing on her charity work.
What a great role model for the youth!
Marley Dias: An American activist and feminist who started the twitter phenomenon #1000BlackGirlBooks. The hash tag was born out of the reader's frustration that she could not find any stories where the main characters looked like her. She is also an author of the book Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You.
Another good example of what the youth can do when they set their minds on making a difference!
Below are some key pointers to raising the next generations of leaders:-
A solid foundation of principles and practices.
A good early childhood experience that contributes to raising an all round young person.
A focus on early years learning, understanding how children grow and learn in a healthy environment. Teach them topics that would help them develop as youngsters, through play and outdoor activities.
Foster relationships with other younger ones and family members.
Parents, teachers and loved ones should seek ways to motivate, support and engage their young ones to give them the skills that would nurture their sense of learning.
Try different ways to support the young to develop cognitive, emotional and social skills. Not forgetting their spiritual needs.
Youth can all be influenced by their parents, teachers and people around them so, it is good to be mindful of the effect we have on them to shape their thinking and their future. Be a good role model. Why not start by reading to children at a young age - catch them young!
There are several ways youths can make a difference just like the few mentioned above. It includes volunteering, mentoring someone else (usually a younger person in a younger school year group), organising charity events, (my children always helped the local school during school summer fayre and other events, selling sweets, cakes or drinks to raise money), get involved in community projects (e.g. singing, acting workshops), supporting the local church youth programs and offering support (e.g. IT skills) to a new initiative taking place in the community. There are so many options to choose from, the youths cannot afford to be bored!
The photograph below was taken by me when I visited my child and we went along to the library, she was working on a very interesting project on data analysis.
As a youth of today's society how can you contribute to the improvement of your society?
Share your ideas and encourage others.