I am ready for the term “at risk youth” to be extinct. This common youth label starts youth on a trampled playing field. The negative expectation seeps into the pours of our societal understanding of youth.
For example, USA Today posted the headline, “Sex Study: More Teens Young Adults Are Virgins”. In my line of work this is jubilant news and has actually been a youth trend, so I checked it out.
After reading the article with satisfaction, the 232 comments caught my attention. I read every one. It was not good for my blood pressure.
I counted three affirmative remarks. Most of the comments were sarcastic. They accused the youth of lying or implied something detrimental about young adults and their character. You would have thought the discussion was about dogs in heat.
Unfortunately this has become the norm for the American culture and their expectations. If I had one dollar for every adult who tells me, “Kids are going to do it anyway,” I would be looking down on Bill Gates economically speaking.
I believe these expectations are the root of a large number of problems. They are basically like the propaganda machine of Nazi Germany in World War II.
The propaganda professional Joseph Goebbels proposed, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Of course, he was reflecting his commander, Adolph Hitler who said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
I don’t believe the lie. I believe youth want to and can do what is right. Unfortunately they live in a culture where adults believe otherwise and expect their failure. For many of these adults their own past failures dictate their expectation for youth. The past failures of these adults do not dictate the future of youth.
As a result, I will make every effort to believe the best for our youth while standing up to the adults who continue to drone on with their message of failure.
Recently I was in a local book store. The young lady serving me nonchalantly commented, “Thank You.” I asked, “For what?” She said, “Aren’t you Mr. Eades.” While I secured my identity with a nod, she finished, “You saved me from a great deal of drama and I am really enjoying it.”
With a little encouragement she made a decision while in Middle School to avoid the emotions, drama, pain, scares, unplanned pregnancy, disease, guilt and shame associated with our cultural norm of sexual freedom. This College Student found that true sexual freedom is found in purity.
My running into her is not an anomaly. Youth want to do what is right. They want better than the outcomes of the sexual revolution. When will adults believe and encourage the best in them?
What do you think about the negative expectation for our youth?
Where are your expectations for our youth?