Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reaching Back

While I was out and about this week I had some really interesting conversations that had a recurring theme. “Why are our youth so out of control?” (In reference to the latest Oakland civil unrest.) I think the reason our youth are so wild is due to a few reasons; lack of job opportunities, no youth leadership and most adults are too scared to talk to them. Lack of work is a double edge sword it causes hopelessness and disenfranchisement. Just imagine if you were 16-24, you have little to no college education and a child to support. To feed your family it’s going to take more than hourly wage from a fast food chain or an electronics store to survive. Facts show since 9/11 youth have been competing for lower level jobs against seasoned professionals and losing.

Secondly, youth have no peer leadership. Unlike in the 80’s and early 90’s there are no well defined role models; everyone wants to be a shade of gray. On one hand you have some artist saying love and respect your community, but on the next track it’s about if you want to get rich sell drugs. These lyrics push behaviors which ultimately lead to the destruction of our youth and community.

Lastly, and more importantly grown ass men and women are too afraid to say anything to the youth today. They would rather walk with their heads down then tell some teenager “come here and let me talk to you for a minute.” The only reason the generation before us is successful is because people reached back to mentor them. Weather it was a teacher, pastor or neighbor the people around them cared about their future and took time out to mold their minds. To sum it up, you get out what you put in.

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