Perception of today’s youth not reality

I can’t help but experience a sense of déjà vu when I listen to descriptions of today’s youth. Now in my late thirties, youth are described in the same manner as people my age were 20 years ago.

Usually, I’ll hear things like: “Young people today are lazy, have no respect for their elders and think they know everything. Kids do not appreciate how good they have it nowadays. When I was young, I had to walk five miles to go to school”.

I like to tell people who criticize today’s youth that every generation throughout history has annoyed their elders in one way or another. However, the majority of them turned out fine. We wouldn’t be here today if previous generations didn’t have their act together.

Today’s youth face unique challenges that previous generations did not. Even the Internet – the medium that I am using to state my opinion – presents a challenge.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have to worry about people making slanderous statements about me on the Internet, or using Photoshop to create embarrassing pictures for the world to see.

I didn’t have to worry about global warming, the world financial crisis, or my parents losing their house after being laid off. Back then, people got a job, worked until they were 65, received a watch or some other gift and enjoyed retirement. We all know that is not the case today.

Despite these issues, there is hope for the future. Although there are problems among today’s youth, the majority are no different than previous generations. Some will be followers and others will be a burden on society.

However, many are (and will grow up to be) leaders. They are bright, tech-savvy, inquisitive, and are making a positive impact on their community. Many of them are featured in Share and we should be proud of them.

I encourage people who disparage today’s youth to pick up a copy of Share. Take time to talk to youth, not at them. As their elders, do not tolerate disrespect – but don’t forget to treat them with respect. You may be surprised by what you’ll learn from them.

I encourage youth to pick up a copy of Share and post on this site. Share is not “your parents or grandparents newspaper”. It’s for the entire Black and Caribbean community. Submit opinions. Make your voice heard.

We believe in you and want to hear from you.

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