A Failing Generation…Each One, Teach One

boy running on green lawn

It is an old age saying now, “What is up with this new generation”, or “When I was that age…”. All these statements are said in reference to the “seasoned” and “more mature” adults in an irritation to what youth are doing now and the choices that they choose to make. In the quote that we hear all too often, “A takes a village to raise a child”, and in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it”. So, does this mean us as an older generation are at fault for the direction in which our youth are choosing to go? Are we to blame for the ‘failing of a generation’?

Well, for one I wouldn’t put the full blame on either party, but there are some areas where we are lacking in reaching our youth. Instead of mentoring them and guiding them, we are constantly “nic-picking” and lecturing them. The “new generation” doesn’t need to be “talked to”. What they really need is to see those that sincerely care for them, want to see them succeed and are going out of their way and taking the time to show them a better way. In order for us to start seeing change in the next generation, let’s consider the following steps.

  1. More successful, millennials who take the time. The younger generation is more motivated and more opt to change when they see young adults achieving positive things. Let’s be honest, not everyone can be the next Chris Brown, Beyonce or Kid Cuti. Being a rapper is played out and everyone thinks they can rap. There’s no future in that for everyone. However, young people investing in real estate, insurance, etc and starting their own businesses shows youth that they can do it to and have a bright and secure future head of them. Those of us in our 20s and 30s, our youth NEED us to mentor them because we can better understand them and not too much as changed, as far social issues, from when we were in school to now.

  2. Meet them where they’re at. The easiest way to get a young person’s attention is to plan social events that interests them, but at the same time have a purpose to them. A 90s themed skate night is fun for them, or a movie night with treats. Within these outings there can be discussions and youth groups that are formed and led by the individuals mentioned in step one.

  3. Don’t stop encouraging them. Instead of criticizing them for what they do wrong and don’t understand, applaud them for the good that they do. This will motivate them to continue to accomplish more. Most youth need that confidence booster and constant reminder that they are worth way more than they think.

  4. Check on them weekly. As an effective mentor, be sure to check on your mentee weekly to let them know that you are thinking of them and to get updates on what they are going through.

  5. Practice what you preach. Don’t be a hypocrite, this is one of the number one reasons that will make a youth question your judgement and to lose trust in you. Share with them your life experiences and what you learned from it, but don’t tell them not to or to do something. Let them listen and learn from what you went through and continue to lead by example. He or she will make their own decision whether or not to go through whatever they have to decide to go through. In most cases, they will choose to do the right thing, but if they don’t let them fall and just be there to help them get back up and on track.

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Naomi K. Bonman is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she holds her Bachelors of Arts in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism. She also holds her Masters of Public Administration. She is the Founder and CEO of Awakened Media Enterprises, Inc. which owns Purposely Awakened. She has been in the media field since 2006 covering beats that range from social justice, community, entertainment, sports, fashion/beauty, and culture news.

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