noun the period between childhood and adult age.
Very often the youth are given a bad “wrap” and one often hears “the children of today……”, or “in our day a child would never be allowed to do that”. But realistically speaking, the youth of today are living in a different time and have different challenges and are not at all like the youth of then or the adults of today. It is up to the adults to make sure that adolescence is a healthy experience for these youngsters, to make them feel that they have purpose and can contribute to the future. They need to be involved in many ways in the things that matter most.
The youth tend to be more playful and imaginative whilst adults are more logical. Youngsters also differ in many ways; however, they tend to be the experimenters and the risk takers and are often the catalyst to the creation of change in many areas.
One only has to think back to June 16th, 1976. Youth Day is celebrated each year in South Africa as we remember Hector Pietersen, a schoolboy who was shot and died during the Soweto uprising, and many other students involved too. This incredibly sad event was the beginning of change in South Africa, and it was the youth, who rallied and voiced their unhappiness regarding education.
The youth need to be celebrated and shown love, not only in June, but every month. Here are 5 tips to make the youth feel good about themselves. (Ref: Amy L. Eva The Greater Good Magazine)
1. Get Physical
Sport instead of screen is the way to go. It has been proven that exercise, fresh air and engaging with others in a social and fun manner improves not only physical health and builds strong bodies, but also improves self-esteem. Being fit instead of feeling sluggish creates healthy minds and youngsters who have some sort of routine, tend to be more disciplined and happier.
2. Focus on self-compassion rather than self-esteem.
In a study of young adults, it was found that those who had higher self-compassion were in a much better state of mind and overall health. When asked why, it was discovered that they were OK with their flaws, they accepted and acknowledged that they struggled and often made mistakes, and they treated themselves with the same kindness as they would treat a friend. They felt if they had tried their best, then that was OK.
3. Avoid Social Comparison.
With the addiction to social media, it is no wonder that the youth are comparing themselves to those “perfect” images of “perfect” people enjoying the “perfect” life. Research has shown that this has resulted in many young people feeling depressed, feeling “not good enough” and generally having feelings of low self-worth. The adults involved with the youth need to take a step back and see if they are adding fuel to the fire, by making school results pubic, making constant comments about the high achievers, and applauding the “winners” and overlooking the “tryers”. Youngsters’ “small” successes should also be acknowledged and validated, and they should be given the opportunity to redo or try again, if they themselves are not happy and feel they can do better.
4. Capitalize on Specific Skills.
Keep an eye open for a youngster’s strengths, rather than “weaknesses”. Not all are great on the sports fields but excel at public speaking or in the science lab. Maybe that quiet girl in the back of a class feels socially awkward when she is invited to someone’s home. But she is more than talented in poetry writing and when asked about her poems, she beams and feels seen. Youngsters who feel invisible, are those who need to be praised and validated the most, for them to be able to move forward and become successful and contributing adults one day. Let these young people have a voice, ask their opinion, enter into debates, and make them feel as they are an important part of change in this world.
5. Help others, especially strangers.
When the youth reach out to help others, they themselves feel better about themselves. In 2017 a study in the US looked at kind and helpful behaviour over a four-year period and it was found that those who directed their kindness to strangers, grew in self-esteem. As adults, we should make these opportunities available to the youth. Assist them with programs where they offer their services over a weekend on a regular basis, at an orphanage, an animal shelter, old age home or mother charity organization. Be available for these young people, listen to what they say, and nudge gently, never push, in the right direction when need be. Your kindness to them, reflects who they will become, so the future depends not on their actions alone, but on ours too.
So, this Youth Month, why not give a gift to celebrate our youth to let them know they are “seen” and appreciated.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future”. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Let us assist with collating a range of gifts to celebrate this important month. Time to WOW your employees and clients.
Some gift ideas:
Branded backpack – Head-phones-Funky socks-branded hoodie- branded sneakers-ecofriendly drinkware-branded buffs to name but a few.