What happened to our youth?

2013-04-08 14:10

“I maintain that nurture, rather than nature, is the primary moulder of personality, but my father possessed a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness, that I recognise in myself.” This I take from our country’s former statesman’s book, Nelson Mandela - Long Walk To Freedom.

Twice, I read this book, and going through the first few chapters, I found myself pondering what kind of a person am I, what do I really stand for and most importantly, who am I?

I had nobody but myself to answer all these questions.

I’ve got a friend. Very smart, intelligent, successful; and for these - he knows I respect him lots. However, his downfall as I always tell him will be alcohol, the way he disrespects both the young and the old, and the reckless life he leads. Because of these he lost so many he once considered friends. Well, I refer to him a friend still, because I care, because I am worried he might lose everything he has worked so hard for. What an ordeal it would be if it were to happen.

From a young age I have always been able to spot right from wrong. For every wrong I would spot, either by myself or someone in the family, I would use as an experience to make right the next time.

This I did without realising the force behind. This I did without realising I was being nurtured by those who were surrounding me. This I did without realising I was being moulded into becoming the kind of a young man I am today.

The convictions I hold today I am sure are part and parcel of my upbringing.

Do not get me wrong – I am no perfect – not at all. People talk, they give each other names, sometimes for no reason. Some will find you disagreeable and some arrogant. But here is the thing I always say to friends – I certainly have not the talent which some people posses, that of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. This is probably because I cannot catch their tone of conversation or appear interested in their concerns. I do not see anything wrong with this at all, if you happen to find it otherwise; tough luck.

I am proud to have had parents who never from my young age given up on me when I was wrong. I am proud to have had parents who knew what it took to raise a child. Privileged is what I feel today, that even today they are still caring parents.

The role they played enables me today to answer the questions what do I stand for and who am I?

In today’s generation however, alcoholics are born, rapists are born, serial killers are born, haters are born, and the list goes on and on. In none of these personalities, is one able to point out a leader. Now, one asks the question - who are the future leaders of this country? We find so much wickedness where justice and right ought to be.

The hope and future of every country rests in its youth; but it calls for concern when you get a youth whose only concern is to be uncontrollable because they think they know too much.

Have we forgotten the atrocities our parents have had to endure?

Well, this they went through with a goal in mind, which was to make South Africa a better place for all and in particular a better place for the generation which was to follow after them; a South Africa with opportunities and where everyone shared and enjoyed equal rights. Common sense agrees; a right exercised should not harm one on the other side. Ironically, the opposite seems to be the practice in today’s society.

Our moral compass continues to take a downward spiral.

What could be the cause of all these?

A friend of mine said to me the other day our parents can no longer afford to build the future for the youth today, but they can certainly build the youth for the future.

Truth be told; today’s children seem to have lost respect towards both their parents and peers. Children do as they please today, parents no longer have a say on what's wrong or right. Children talk back at their parents, they even yell back at them when they call them into order.

Parents, you have lost control and it is high time you reclaim it. South Africa has got so much potential with lots of it embedded in its youth. As much as it is their responsibility to identity and untap this potential, they need you parents to guide them into being the best they can be in contributing to the future of this country.

Nelson Mandela once said “the richest rewards are reserved only for those who undergone the most thorough training and who have attained the highest academic qualification in their respective fields”. This training should start at home and it can only be attained if our parents start playing their part in grooming their kids to be well mannered and know right from wrong.

I am in no way completely shifting the blame to our parents, but am saying we cannot continue everyday getting negative media coverage about the shenanigans children partake into. It has to stop and this battle can only be won if started in our households from a very young age.

It is through today’s youth that we hope for a much better community tomorrow. It is through them that we hope for a much better society tomorrow and it is indeed through them that we hope for a much better Africa tomorrow.

Unless moulding our children takes place second to none in every household, we will continue seeing all these shenanigans they seem to have made part of their lives.

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