I realize that it’s hard for some people to see me as an adult. And while, yes, I am an adult; most people would probably place me in the young adult category. Either way, I have some opinions about the youth of today and a lot of them come from my experiences (or lackthereof) and my experience within schools.
First, I believe that the youth of today have the most promise that anyone could ask for. They can become anyone they want to be and they can do anything they want to do. This includes everything from really horrible things (like murder and DUI/DWI and other bad things) to really fantastic things (like starting charities and changing their worlds before they are even old enough to drive). That being said, I also believe that the youth of today are facing more challenges than any of us have ever faced. A lot of today’s youth are going to grow up in environments where they are living with only one parent and in conditions that a lot of us didn’t have to worry at all. Kids are also experiencing things way earlier than many of us who are older ever did. With the internet and social networking sites and the dawning of this computer age, information is at the fingertips of kids that would not have been readily available to us before.
Here are some things that I would change about today’s world if I could. First, I would make it so that parents didn’t bribe their children with TV/internet/gaming systems. Kids need to play and they need to explore and they need to interact with their environment. They can’t do that if they are constantly sitting in front of the television or computer. I have nothing against TV or the internet…but I think there is a time/place for that. My plan: when I have kids (which is a long way off, trust me), I am going to have a TV stand that I can close so that it is available to me after the kids are in bed or when they are not around. I will also play with my kids outside and make sure that they are involved in other activities.
Another thing that I would change about the world today: I would make it more competitive. I’m not saying that this happens all the time, and I believe that you have to be positive with kids and help them hone their skills; but not every kid is going to be able to be the star and it’s not okay to shaft kids who have a real gift by allowing kids that aren’t as gifted to bite into their time. Rejection is hard, but it helps build character and it helps people to see what they’re really good at and build their strengths.
And finally: I would go back to making facebook a college only thing. I don’t mean to say that I don’t think adults shouldn’t be on the site; but I don’t think elementary/middle/high school students should be on the site. Facebook is something that kids don’t understand – I don’t even know if college kids always understand it – and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.
So, I think that today’s youth has the most promise, but also the most challenges, of any of our youth ever. They need to be nourished, believed in, and supported as they work through their youth and become the future.
What do you think the biggest challenges that youth these days face? Do you believe that they are more promising than ever? Would you rather be a youth in today’s world or in the world where you grew up?