Recently I have had the opportunity on a few occasions to listen to some of the most articulate, informed and well-versed individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
Discussing a range of topics from religion to politics and agriculture to tourism, these conversations were never boring and could never be considered tedious.
Interestingly, even though differing opinions often could have lent to long-term disagreements or even tempers exploding, persons either picked apart the argument brought forward by others or simply agreed to disagree. What makes these people so fascinating to me you ask? Simple, all of them were under 20 years of age.
Some persons may even ponder what is the big deal about mentioning their age as to somewhat prove this point, when persons attend secondary school and the university, these are the types of conversations one could often find oneself in as students take in textbook information, assimilate it and apply it to life.
So the fact that such was happening with these people is not what is important. What is essential to note however, is the reality that many of these persons had gone no further than to receive a few diplomas and certificates at general proficiency in secondary school before then seeking out the world of work, some more successfully than others.
Hanging out with them I realised that many persons in our society have a biased opinion against youth, as the frequency with which we hear violent episodes involving these members of this group causes the wider population to judge them all guilty until proven innocent. Sadly, I have to admit that my mind too has become somewhat jaded towards these persons even though technically, I still fall into the group.
In this way, it is no wonder some young people adopt the characteristics society expects and therefore defines for them.
Older persons often think of young people especially the men as nuisances, who only know how to smoke or sell weed or some other type of illegal drug, curse, rob, rape or kill.
They often define the young women as those only interested in making quick money by selling their bodies through prostitution for material goods such as skimpy outfits and hairstyles to wear to the latest fete.
We all know that if things are repeated constantly we often not only remember, but believe them and for some youth acting any other way may be considered as self-defeating.
I often recall a story where one of my friends often refused to take out the garbage simply because his mother was constantly telling him that he would forget this chore, so he figured that it made no sense to take out the trash since she was already expecting him not to perform this chore.
Why should I disappoint her since she already thinks that I am going to fail at performing the task? he would query.
With such a situation more then quadrupled across the wider society, why then would the wider society shake its head at the downward spiral some youths make.
After all we have already filled their heads with negative expectations and wiped our hands clean. It would do many of us a good if we could sit down and speak to a young person and not judge them as a bad boy or rude girl without giving them a chance. After all, how could a little more positivity hurt in todays world?