“The future” is such an unknown and our youth will have a major role in shaping the future of our communities, society and this world in general. I couldn’t be happier about the opportunity that I have to make an impact on those who will one day be the leaders, decision-makers, and influencers of our people. I want to give the youth all the tools that I acquired along the way because I was fortunate to have the right people in my life who molded me into the person that I am today.
My journey has been a unique one and conveying to the youth that there isn’t always one path to your goals and success, is important to me. Too much of today’s society is content with being followers rather than leaders. They appear to be comfortable with just doing what everyone else is doing and imitating the ways of the crowd.
I’m not ok with that.
I want people to think on their own and come to their own decisions and to make their own assessments. The youth needs to understand that time is on their side. They have the time to make mistakes, endure failure, and learn from their experiences. No one else can do this for them. Now is the time they have to grow. It is part of our job to introduce and instill tools that aren’t being taught in school. We have to provide the youth opportunities to acquire the intangible life skills that are often being overlooked.
What I mean by this is that sometimes I feel like we assume the youth are learning important traits like self-discipline, confidence, commitment, and goal-setting merely by living their everyday life. I am here to remind you they aren’t learning things like this in school. They learn aspects of these traits by watching others and seeing how those individuals respond to their environment/situations that arise.
Currently, sometimes and only sometimes they learn from the people they are most surrounded by. These usually include friends, family, teammates, peers, and mentors. However, today there is a newer aspect to the way the youth are learning characteristics: Social Media.
I’m talking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tik-Tok, Twitch, Snap Chat, Pinterest, and many others. Social media is influencing them more than you truly know. Subsequently, an abundant amount of our society and youth can no longer think for themselves. All of their decision making is made for them ahead of time because they have seen multiple random “influencers” they “follow” navigate similar situations they will go through.
I’m not saying social media cannot be productive or positive, but I aspire to remind you what the future is up against and some of the things that truly have influence over them at the moment. This is why we must to continue to fight for the youth to be leaders in their own right. It is essential to encourage them to understand the benefits of creating their own path and not always following the crowd. We have to surround them with the right people and make sure they look up to individuals that shine a positive light around them. It is a requirement that we help them recognize right from wrong and to obtain the ability to decipher positivity from negativity. I know this is much easier said than done in today’s day and age, but it must be a focus.
Don’t always assume your child will make the best decisions. Be transparent with them by showing them the benefits of being a leader and specific consequences when we follow the wrong crowd. Don’t be naïve to what our youth is being exposed to. Times are changing and they need the right people in their life showing them the correct way to do things. In turn, they will have the opportunity to rise up and do the same one day.
Allow them to write their own story, don’t let others write it for them.