My dad says that it was his generation that has failed us. He is actually my great uncle so that would make him my grandparent’s generation technically. He says that they did not properly mentor the young as they should have. I feel that there are several things that culminated all at once that play into this theory of his for why we are seeing this issue among our youth today. Though they are among some of the most intelligent by far they are also some of the most destructive internally and externally.
Now I will begin by saying these are my opinions and theories and you may not agree with them but let’s remember when you think children are not watching and paying attention, THEY ARE. And I was once that child that people thought was not paying attention!!! I was watching and listening and observing everything. The reasons I find start from years of absent parents stemming from wars, and a boom in drugs coinciding with those wars as well as a down turned economy so that people struggled to find employment. They still lived in ‘between’ cultural norms of what society deemed what acceptable for employment, raising children, living, and education. I saw it in my own family as well as across the world. These main years seemed to be between the 60’s-80’s.
Then people became complacent. They began to say we have screwed up our lives but maybe our children can do better, yet they did not set a great precedence as the children watched them. The children had to start out lives in some cases hearing about the deadbeat parent, watch the abuse, or having been abused themselves only to pass that same thing down to their child. The child learns irresponsibility and has a hard life because the parent opened a credit card in their name when they were two years old or robs their grandparent of their hard earned savings because they feel entitled or because they need a fix.
It is sad but true! Due to these issues we see an increase of individuals incarcerated, homeless, or dead! What’s worse is that during these times there was also an increase in our knowledge of mental illness yet, due to stigma it was ignored or avoided and so this caused further damaged among this group of people during this time. Though mental illness is starting to gain some traction it is still not nearly enough and sometimes only when it comes to violent crimes when things appear to be too late. Though my father speaks more to the young men of the world and particularly to young black males, I want to speak to all of our youth.
The child watches all those members in the family who should be a role model but instead are not. The problem continues even now as as people still want to blame my dad’s generation. But we cannot do this. You have to start somewhere. We are too complacent as a people. We have to start NOW! We have to stop blaming others for our actions. We all need to get out there and start mentoring someone. You may say I am only 16 or 18 I am only in college and I have no money who can I mentor? You do not need money to mentor someone. You need only a pure heart and time.
You need to be able to give a person who feels they are not worth anyone’s time the time of day! There are plenty of children, teens, and young adults, who are dying to have a person who understands them and guide them in the right direction. Just like networking is important in the corporate world, mentoring is important to our youth! They need this guidance! They need more than just their parents and family. I am a result of more than just my family, I am a result of my family, teachers, friends, colleagues, and their families! Go to your local Boys and Girls club, church, homeless shelter, police station (someone has to do community service), community center, or hospital, and find someone! They are there begging for a chance to have an experience they have never had. To talk to someone! To be led, and guided by someone like you!
OPEN YOUR EYES & HEART!