Teenagers. No, this isn't going to be a moan along the lines of "...they don't know they're born"or "they get far too much these days." This is a piece I've been inspired to write by my own teenagers, their friends and what I see happening around me. (They created the image for this blog, in fact. Not too shabby as energy and fun goes, is it?)
I wrote about the issues faced by young people last year
in the wake of the riots. I stand by much of what I said, but any edit
would reflect upon the highs created by the recent Olympic and
Paralympic Games, and whether we really did manage to 'Inspire A
Generation', or just the kids with enthusiastic parents and access to
the better facilities and support networks?
people face a choice when leaving school (for those that make it that
far.) If they get the results needed, do they take the plunge and
continue study to University level (and enter the world of increasing
tuition fees), or do they enter the job market- which is tougher now
than many of us can recall? For those whose academic results rule out
University, competition for apprenticeships and training programmes is
fierce, and again, the employment market is a vicious beast at present.
I sent a
tweet last night asking what piece of advice the Twitter community
would give to young people-one thing you'd recommend they carry with
them as they set out.
Safesite's Marketing Manager Ruth Taylor said "Enjoy
work, apply yourself now & learn as much as you can, you'll reap
the rewards later. Oh and hindsight is a wonderful thing!"
Zoe Mounsey is a sharp HR mind and employee engagement afficionado as well as a mum, and she advises "Be curious. With the wealth of information at people's fingertips, we should never feel that there is nothing left to learn or to understand, so should always be asking questions."
A lovely tweet from 'glam legal eagle', the enigmatic and wise LotusFlower: "Cultivate a good life/work balance now for better stress-management in the workplace."
old saying goes 'It takes a village to raise a child.' So instead of
rolling your eyes at 'unruly' young people or condemning them as 'lazy',
'disrespectful' or 'demotivated', why not discover what motivates and
energises them? Instead of demanding to know why struggling parents
can't manage their teenagers, why not offer a listening ear or a kind
word of encouragement to them and their child? The pressures on parents
are unlike any at any time in modern history- many work long hours our
of necessity, not desire. Personally, I live with the weekly regret
that I feel I've never quite spent enough time with my own 18
and 14 year old and the resolve to do better next week. Some have never
learned the skills needed to handle their children beyond baby or
childhood, and more still view their teenager as something from another
planet. It doesn't mean they're failing; they just need to know
they're not alone.
teachers do amazing work on the whole, but often there's not enough of
a link between home and school to ensure consistency and stability and
often no link at all to the wider community. We cannot and should not
condemn 'the system'- and by default our teachers- for failing anybody
while we stand by and leave the hard work of raising the next
generation to those whose 'job' it is.
all have a part to play, and a duty to ourselves to fulfil it as best
we can. Young people need us, and more importantly, we need them. We
need to look out for them, whether it's our 'job' to or not.
Think about the teenagers you know. Now think past what you see and hear and consider them as people.
You don't just have your parents, or a teacher to go to for advice and support, so why should they?
to say that even if you're not a teacher or the parent of a young
person that you can't be the empathiser, motivator or cheerleader they
The last word goes to mentor, coach and business and schools speaker David McQueen, who recommends that young people "find one person you can talk to about anything."
Maybe you're that one person. Why not go and find out?