MAKING IT BETTER: Nothing But Love For The Youth

This week is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK and my thoughts are with our youth who are struggling on so many levels to make their way in an increasingly hostile environment; many having no moral compass and there are casualties that appear in different guises.

Having spent the majority of the last few months addressing some challenging personal issues of my own, I also somehow found myself deeply engaged in supporting, uplifting, understanding and ministering to a mix of young people; the ages ranging from eighteen to early thirties. As much as I have always identified with the young and I am always not far away from them or them from me, I was confronted with a shocking and quite disturbing realisation of the battles many of them are involved in at the moment. I like to think of myself as quite youthful if not so much in looks but at heart. My heart and spirit has always held the young closely. I also like to think I have been given a gift that draws them close to me. The truth of the matter is that I am in awe of the young. Their resilience, their fearlessness, their creativity, even their foolishness can be endearing. Sadly many of them are losing many of these qualities which are being replaced with drugs, mental illness, and lack of self esteem, an inability to understand right from wrong, anger and frustration, poor judgement.

Having said all of the above there is also a new wave of youth who are interested in something more than what they see their peers involved in. They are smart, political, and hungry to succeed. I have spent time with both sets of youth recently and I come away reeling. I myself am raising two beautiful, smart, ambitious young ladies, who have had a strong loving family and a great foundation to their lives. They know right from wrong and are good people, but I have seen their struggle in the world and how they have suffered, faltered from the stresses and pressures they have had to and are still negotiating on their journey. I am grateful their father and I are involved enough in their lives to be a strong resource and roles models for them. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but we overcome adversities as a family which we all have invested in, nurtured and made a priority when required. We also laugh a lot as a family which has helped to put out many fires and sooth pain.

I am struck at how so much different things are with the younger generation, the millenials in comparison to my generation.  By all means we had our own challenges but these were simpler times. Boy met girl, you fancied one another, you went out on dates, fell madly in love and introduced one another to your families; not too long there were plans for marriage. Families took time to invest and build on the relationships, to support the couples.  Now, boy oh boy it is the most complex, almost bizarre combination of rules, games that the youth are engaged in.  Families have very different agendas and many don’t give the young couples the tools to survive in a marriage.

First of all I simply can’t get my head round the dating sites that many of the young people go on to meet people. It used to be older people, divorcees and widows that went on these sites. I cannot see any reason why young people have to meet this way. Talking to many of the young people on these sites, they say it is an unwritten rule that everyone knows that going on these sites are an indication that you are looking for sex. Whether or not you do have sex is obviously entirely up to you but it is generally understood that it will or should be on the cards. Then there’s the activity of swiping, looking for who appeals to you like you are buying clothing or a handbag. It almost dehumanises them. I can’t think of anything worse. Many of the young women say they feel inadequate, self conscious, not good enough because the men have so much more choice.

One of my young mentees has been on so many of these dating sites and keeps going out on unsuccessful dates, one nighters and it has left her full of anxiety and depressed. There is almost a desperation and a race to find any man to validate her. They don’t make distinctions or feel they can make good choices in case they miss out; they don’t even seem to know what a good choice for them is. The men on their part have no clue of what it means to be a gentleman or how to court a woman. They are also on this mad race to conquer as many women as they can. The other thing they all say is that they don’t have the time to go through any lengthy dating because of work and other commitments. The irony in this is that the very thing they are all looking for, especially the women which a healthy happy relationship is something they will almost find impossible to achieve with the way they go about it.

I know there are many amazing young people who visit this site and I am often thrilled and beaming with pride to read the comments and the curiosity and hunger to learn that is exhibited. This gives me hope and joy that Above Whispers is fulfilling an important role in nurturing, educating and being a good role model.

I implore the older generation to be gentler, kinder to the youth. Take them under your wing, mentor them, and minister to them. Older women stay in your lane, don’t try to inhabit or usurp the same space as your junior sister or one young enough to be your child. Mothers pay attention to how you are raising. I know many may say the younger generation also have a lot to learn and need to be more respectful etc. Yes that is true but there has been a lot written about all that is wrong with the youth lets alter the conversation and change the narrative.

I would love to hear your views about the contents in this column. What are your experiences and struggles as a young person in our society? Let’s have those conversations. Share this if you can to help others and tell the older generation how we can make things better

 

Be Inspiring

Life is better when you are happy,

But life is at its best when others are happy because of you.

Be faithful in touching other’s hearts. Be an inspiration,

Nothing in nature lives for itself; Rivers do not drink their own water.

Trees do not eat their own fruits.

The sun does not shine for itself and Flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves.

Living for others is a rule of nature.

We were all born to help each other.

No matter how difficult the situation you find yourself in,

Still do good to others.

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4 Responses to MAKING IT BETTER: Nothing But Love For The Youth

  1. Olakunle Olajide May 17, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    I have really missed reading your articles ma’am. Thank you for caring for the youths, we truly appreciate your efforts. And i love the poem of “Be Inspired” It is just a pity it is hard to see the reality of it.

    Truly we go through a lot, different people with different ways of coping but it can be better if we have more people like you.

    On experiences and issues, currently i can’t even have a conversation with my father because we are totally on different wavelength. I am not happy with the situation but ar the same time, i know i have to move forward. In all, i am grateful.

    Reply
  2. Femi Diipo May 24, 2018 at 6:27 am

    I’ve thought about this column a lot over the past couple of months and I would have reached out to you if there was anyway I could. Perhaps you could leave us your email address ma’am.
    I’ve learnt that those who care for others also need to be cared for as well as those who inspire others also need inspiration, so I hope we will be having you here more regularly now.
    I think my major challenge as a young man is the dearth of opportunities for young people without silver spoon. In a society where majority of opportunities fall within the ranks of those who know who, those of us who know nobody are left struggling for crumbs which are hardly falling from the big men’s table.

    Reply
  3. Gloria Ogunbadejo May 24, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    My dear brothers (possibly sons?),
    Olakunle and Femi, thank you for your kind and caring words. I am moved by your thoughtfulness.

    Olakunle, you are certainly not alone in feeling alienated from your dad. The generation gap is real. My thoughts on that are that as its unlikely you dad is going to change, make a decision to redefine the relationship. Have no expectations. Decide if you want to have him in your life and manage any expectations you might have had and accept him just as he his. If it is not possible or unbearable then make that decision, make peace with yourself and have no regrets.

    Femi, while I will not in any way minimise the power and reality of what you have said. I am sure you know of many successful people in the world who either started with next to nothing or very humble beginnings but with determination, intention, a dream, and hard work got their break and made something of themselves. In the same way, many of those silver spooned kids have amounted to nothing. Keep your focus, stay positive and keep moving forward!

    Reply
  4. Femi Diipo May 26, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you very much ma’am and by God’s grace I’ll keep striving to reach beyond my limitations.

    Reply

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