Thirty years from now, the youth of today will be the generation that inherits Cebu City.
They will be the ones making decisions about the city’s economy, education, and everything that can make and break Cebuanos by 2050 and beyond. One of them may even be the provincial governor or the country’s president. They know this and they are concerned of what the future is in store for them. This gives us all the more reason to listen to them. The big question is, are we?
Why listen to the youth, you ask?
According to speakingofkidsmentalhealth.com, the children and the youth must have a voice – granting them opportunities to speak and to be listened to. They need to see that their words have an impact because it makes them feel whole and healthy.
It seems ironic how some of us send our children to school to let them learn the art of public speaking when we ourselves reverse such wisdom by shutting them up every time they suggest something or whenever they point out our mistakes.
If we are truly looking to move forward in the world, we need to stop looking at youth as the problem that is too hard to solve, but as a solution and as a resource that can positively contribute to the world around us.
With their vigor, they are considered to be like a big box – filled with great and innocent visions and inclusive ideas for the future. Young people are the key to advancing innovation and economic competitiveness.
As how American educator Mary McLeod Bethune puts it, “We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.”
According to Reverend Dr. Keneth Board of rrstar.com, since the children and the youth have not been jaded by the conflicts, secret agendas and selfish motives that some grown-ups display, their thoughts and actions are genuine; all the more reason we should lend them our ears.
In an article published in the californiatomorrow.org, it points out that adults frequently feel they know and understand young people and their lives, but the truth is, they don’t. But, listening directly to the youth can be very powerful as a means of educating and motivating changes – to have them teach us about communities, their experiences and their needs.
Moreover, consider this quote by Greek philosopher Diogenes that speaks of our primary task: “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” Yet this quote can only become more than just a youth-driven philosophical line if we lower our pride and start to carefully listen to what the youth wants and needs – with limitations of course.
In that way, we can break barriers and empower lives. If only we are reasonable enough we could have realized that understanding young people’s lives can be dramatically bridged, simply by listening, as well as grasping the thought that a young person’s experiences can be complex, subtle, and difficult to articulate.
So let’s listen to them—really listen and do something about it—shall we?
(Blog post written by Renra Sayon)