Nurture our Youth, Dont force feed them!

One of the greatest myths in the world, is that young people need handouts in order to maximise their potential.

Yesterday, I had a conversation..no..a heated argument..with someone who said:

..”a young person who has been disadvantaged in some way, would not be able to survive in the commercial world without changing who they are as a person, because their personal values are so different.”

I disagreed, 100% with him. My argument was simple:

“Someone who FEELS they have been disadvantaged in some way, potentially has more talent than someone who has FELT advantageous, because their environment has conditioned their values to their life experience, which in turn forces them to hone their skills more efficiently to survive. The difference lies is the individuals mindset, in relation to their OWN reaction of their experiences.”

Ive been working with young people since i was 15 – in the inner city area where i grew up, i used to help my friends with their homework at the local youth centre (when we still had youth centres, that were the real hub of the community!).

Over the years, i’ve designed mentoring training for youth organisations, been a youth mentor for Connexions for 4 years, been a facilitator for the Windsor Fellowship, trained people to be mentors to work with the so called ‘hardest to reach’, set up youth projects and currently run two businesses focused on developing both diverse and entrepreneurial leaders!

I’ve spent the last 17 years being at the coal face of working with young people (no textbook nonsense) and have experienced the real life, good and bad, personal side of youth development…and i am sick and tired of hearing the contradiction that young people are a stain on society, until you need them to help you out!

In my humble opinion, the only thing that any young person needs, is the fair opportunity to show you why they are good enough, without prejudice or judgement, on who or what they are!

Lets get one thing clear…The world has changed and is changing faster every day and the winners are those have a seat on the speedy train!

Modern day young people, have grown up in a society and world, that plays by other rules, rules that are NOT founded in archaic ways of thinking. The creativity and innovation that young people bring to the table is the missing link of business adaptation in the current climate.

Furthermore, the diversity of our young people has exposed them to levels of understanding that bring a new cultural, social, economical, personal and professional perception that businesses, can only benefit from.

What annoys me is young people are not truly valued, until there is a hole in the business. People love to talk and talk and talk about the SAME age-old issues, without actually taking action, or at least COMMITTING TO DOING SOMETHING about them!!

They only spring into action when the brown stuff, is about hit the proverbial profit fan!

Please..

Young people need to be brought into the boardroom and be given the chance to offer their unique insight into the world of commerce – allow them to ask the questions that others don’t want to ask, encourage young people to solve your issues using their entrepreneurial spirit, tap into the wisdom of the modern generation – you can then match your more advanced knowledge with their insight, to lead the way forward!

The adults of tomorrow are learning how to lead change, today and the more ’savvy’ businesses know that and more importantly, are TAKING ACTION WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE!

Stop being sympathetic – young people don’t want that!

Stop wrapping them in cotton wool – they don’t need that!

Give them a real, practical chance to shine in the workplace, community and in society – they deserve that!

Till the next time,

J

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