Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It is often said that young people face similar challenges in life irrespective of their background or culture. In a bid to see how true this is, I engaged some of my classmates in a cafeteria discussion. Yes, I have always wondered what this generation was most frantic about, sharing my thoughts with my colleagues, I was surprise to discover how similar the issues that bugged us were after they shared their opinion about the matter. In no particular order, here are some of the things we believe our generation share the same concern for: Education, Family, Character, Pre-marital Sex, Materialism etc.
Here is a Jenniferized version of what we moaned about that afternoon:
Education: For an average Nigerian Youth, education is seen as a process of learning which begins and ends in school, a means to getting a very good job, nothing more. But we asked ourselves, when will our educational system begin to encourage youths to take up lifelong learning and stop limiting our education to classroom learning? That our education system is yet to meet international standard is no overstatement, but we need a real reform that will begin to put in a new value to our education.
Family and Friends: “what is family? Is it my support to lean on when my legs are trembling? A hand when I want to climb up in life? …Or is it just my responsibility to be a support when someone’s legs are trembling...to be ears to listen to what others have to say?” In as much as our families can be our friends, friends on the other hand are most times non-members of our own families who we know well, love and trust. How many young people can boast of a strong relationship between themselves and these two links? Have the bond gone wishy-washy due to split-image personalities?
Future: Don’t be surprise if you ask any young person where they see themselves in ten years time and all you get is a blank look from them. The thought of the future scare some youths so much but for some others, they are so much carried away by the present that they fail to plan for the future. Some engage themselves in activities without reflecting on the consequences it may have on them five years down the line. Is it because the song “whatever you sow, you go reap” is not popular anymore? The future belongs to those who prepare for it, young people need to be taught how to make long-term plans and work towards it.
Character: It is very true that knowledge without character is nothing but a waste. God forbid that this generation be referred to as a generation of youths without a good character. There are obvious challenges here and there that sometimes frustrate our efforts to have an undiluted positive attitude towards life but we are optimistic that we will get there!
Materialism: This is the belief that money, possessions and physical comforts are more important than spiritual values. Some young people have long been trapped in a do-or-die quest to acquire wealth for themselves, compromising their values without a second thought. For instance, they see their neighbor with a fancy phone and they strive to buy a “bigger one”.
Pre-Marital Sex: I cannot hide the fact that young people are being exposed to having a casual attitude towards sex. Some think virginity as lack of opportunity for those who claim it is dignity. What can be done to curb this from becoming a social norm, or is it too late?
We can’t blame it all on societal influence, media or the government. All these have to change and we can change them! Feel free to share

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