Today, August 12, is International Youth Day. A day to celebrate young women and men as essential partners in change and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth. There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world.
As a group, that provides young people enormous capacity to advocate for and bring about change. Conversely, it also provides an enormous potential for challenges and problems. In the media this is what is often portrayed about our young people – the young men and women achieving tremendous things and the ones that are very lost on their journey to adulthood and harming themselves &/or those around them along the way.
This leaves us with a skewed view of our young people and we often forget the many positive things our young people do on a daily basis. Here’s a few examples that I noticed in my local area last weekend:
- A young lady carefully choosing foods with no plastic packaging
- A group of young people collecting rubbish in a local park on a Sunday afternoon
- Two young men who packed away all the equipment after a footy game, without being asked
- A group of young men who stood up at a busy school fete to allow a family with young children and a frail grandparent to sit down
- A young lady who stopped, turned and rode back to check on a young child who had fallen off their bike after riding far ahead of their parent
- A young man who took out and bought in his neighbour’s wheelie bins.
Nothing remarkable, certainly not newsworthy but it demonstrates the kindness, compassion and concern of young people for their environment, themselves and others. Imagine a world with 1.8 billion acts of kindness, concern and compassion a day ( and that’s only one act per young person)? That sounds like a world I want to live in and a world with a positive future for these young people as they develop into adults.
Excellence should of course be celebrated, but it is only the experience of a few. Struggles are part of life but should never become the defining feature of any life. So today let’s celebrate the youth of the world with a particular focus on the random, unexpected positive things they are doing each and every day and the enormous positive contribution that makes to our world and the people in it.
If you are a young person reading this, please know that you matter and that your kindness, concern and compassion is noticed…not necessarily on social media, but it is noticed.
If you have a young person in your life, let them know how much they matter and make sure you notice and comment on the good things they do, no matter how big or small.
Written by: Written by Madeline Avci. Mum of three young men. Occupational Therapist. Owner of Jump Up for Kids (including Jump Up Outdoors). Madeline is passionate about making the outdoors part of everyone’s day and supporting families to navigate the challenges of our modern world.