When a kid graduates it’s not only that kid and his family that wins. Our community wins.” ~ Anonymous
The other day I was reading an article about communities coming together for the sake of the youth in today’s timing. You know the saying, “It Takes a Village” to raise our children. It made me realize that while we may not always agree with the path some of our youth or our own children have taken, they still deserve the right to express their feelings be them valid or not.
As I stated in my previous post here, this generation is total different from past generations. They expect or shall I say they demand to be heard. I know personally, when my daughter has something to say and I am not in agreement or do not feel her claims are valid and shut her down, she will find her way to be heard. Either I will receive a long drawn out text message, an email or a message in messenger. (lol) She will get out, one way or another, how she feels. It is like she cannot breathe until she expresses what she has to say.
Now you know growing up we did not have all of that. Once our parents said what they had to say that was it. Well, to them at least. We did, however mumble underneath our breath but they better not had heard us or that was another story.
As you know like I know, things change and the world evolves and here we are in today’s timing, where things are totally out of the norm. The majority of the ways our parents were raised and how are parents raised us are different from how we are raising our own children. While we may still use some of the tactics our parents used we are not nearly as strict as they were. Well, let me rephrase that, a lot of us are not as strict as our parents were.
I know a lot of us parents today, want our children to be able to come and openly talk to us about the things that’s going on in their lives. While some of the things we are not ready to hear I believe being open to hear what’s going in their lives is important. More importantly, being there for other youths that may not have that trusted ally to turn to is important as well.
With that being said, I believe as a community we should always attempt to be there for our youth, be it your child or not. I know a lot of us are big in the community and rally for our children, so none of what I am saying is new to you. Reaching out to as many of our children as we can when we see a disconnect in their behavior can be a lifesaver. In my opinion, we don’t have to do much but just be there in their time of need. For most children that’s all they are searching for.
Here are three ways we can work together and support our youth in today’s turbulent times:
1. Listen – More often than not kids just want you to listen to them. Regardless if we believe their feelings on some things holds no validity, the most important thing I’ve learned is that they just want to be heard. While we may not agree with what he or she has said, we should make an effort to listen.
2. Open Door Policy – Sometimes without realizing it, we tend to be standoffish, whereas our youth do not seem welcomed. All this does is make it seem as if we do not have time to listen to them. While we may have a lot on our plate at times, recognizing when our youth needs us is important. Therefore, we should make every effort to be available when the need arises.
3. Don’t Judge – Whew! Now, like I’ve stated, times are different. Things have changed. Some of our youth are very open and do not mind spilling out everything about their lives and what they have gone through. Although it may be hard, it is important when our youth is sharing their stories to maintain a non-judgmental demeanor. Some of these stories will shock you, hurt you and sometimes will leave you sitting there speechless. Throughout it all the best thing we can do is not judge them no matter what is told. Unless you have walked in their shoes, you never know what that person has gone through or is going through at the very moment he or she is talking with you. Therefore, make every effort to not display any type of negative body language.
Supporting and nurturing our youth by giving them an opportunity to meaningfully express themselves in an open and non-judgmental setting will in the long run give them the tools necessary to communicate both personally and professionally. It is our duty, as a community to learn ways we can reach our young people and keep them on the right track. It is so easy for our youth to take the wrong turn and end up on the wrong end of the spectrum. With all that is happening in our world we have to come together and get involved to find ways to help our youth thrive in today’s society.
What are some other ways we can work together for our youth?