EDITORIAL - Youth must take charge of their future
We have made significant progress in the area of Human Resource Development in Barbados, but the concern of some is that too many of our young people are not equipping themselves adequately enough to take charge of their future, despite the amount of resources available to them today. While there are those who continue to strive for excellence, overcoming any limitations which may have been placed on them by society or nature, others are allowing themselves to be pulled along by life’s circumstances, waiting instead on what they believe they are entitled to receive from every sector of society, including parents, teachers, the government or employers.
For example, in the age of the Internet and social media, where very few in Barbados can say they do not have some way of being able to access online resources, Human Resources practitioners still complain about the poorly structured resumes which pass their way on a regular basis; persons dressing inappropriately for employment interviews; and an inability to articulate their thoughts confidently. Yet, there is no end of information online on how to better oneself in these areas, freely provided in the form of articles, videos, templates and other types of multi-media.
That our children can be fluent in their use of smart phones and tablets, texting and posting every activity on social media websites, yet exit secondary school without any certificates that would help them to secure employment or create their own business, is in our minds shameful.
However blissful the age of youth, you cannot ignore the problem of youth unemployment and underemployment, a critical issue not only in Barbados, but around the world.
Therefore it should come as no surprise to our young people that they need to seize their future themselves instead of waiting for their futures to find them. Through their choices, the odds are much better that they can secure the type of future they wish for.
Even the most privileged among our young people are confronted at some point with the need to make decisions that will ultimately chart their professional and personal course in life. These decisions include: choosing subjects of study, activities or hobbies which coincide with one’s passions; choosing those with whom they will associate; choosing to gain employment and to keep it; and sometimes making the tough decision to break away from persons and things that pull us away from – rather than draw us closer to – our desirable future.
That said, our youth really do need guidance in these areas and when they fail, we as a society are to blame to some extent. The old folks used to say, when stamping their authority in a situation involving a child, “I was your age before, you were never mine!” With the wisdom that comes from having travelled the path of youthhood, we should have something to be able to offer them to make their journeys easier.
To those who stand on the sidelines and throw up their hands, yelling “a generation of vipers”, your silence and unwillingness to take these young ones under your care is hypocritical, to say the least. Chances are that either you, or someone you know, have done exactly what you pull down our young people for doing.
On the other hand, we don’t need the laissez-faire approach adopted by others who prefer to let their children get away with anything under the guise of “he is just being young”.
We need persons who will keep our young people on their toes about the type of character they are trying to build and about their personal and professional conduct, ensuring that they are morally and competently fit enough to be leaders of tomorrow.