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City of Banjul
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The youth these days!

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By Aicha

I found this quote and I would like you to guess when it was said.

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”Our youth love luxury. They have bad manners and love to chatter instead of exercise. Young people are now tyrants, not the servants of their household.
They no longer rise when the elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food and terrorize their teachers.”

Does it sound familiar, like something said by our parents or even by ourselves?
When we read this quote, immediately there comes pictures in our minds of young men in jeans, latest models of smartphones, baseball caps and Adidas jackets. We see young women in short dresses, lots of jewelry, high heeled shoes and a lot of make-up.
We see them as ”party-animals”, laughing and dancing, sleeping half day and partying half night.
We see them as ignoring old customes, old traditions and even the good old religion of our forefathers.
We also see these young men and women as people who has no ambition whatsoever , they just want to have fun.
The youth of today?

When I tell you whose quote it is you might be surprised because it is not about today’s youth ,it is a very old quote but it is an expression we still use.
The person who expressed his emotions about the ” youth of today ” is named Sokrates.
He lived at 400 B.C. and was a Greek philosopher.
The words of Sokrates are still valid in our days, doubtless as annoying to hear for any young person of today as it was then, but nevertheless true.

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People at all times have been complaining about the youth , your great great great grandmother told your great great granddaughter to wear something else if she went to see some friends.
Your great great great great great grandfather shouted at your great great great great grandfather when he came home too late.
The history repeats itself because the human nature doesn’t change, young people continue challenging the rules of society and old people continue complaining.

You might wonder where I am heading with this, I am heading towards a greater understanding for each other – either we are young or elderly.
Times change, societies develop because life is not static.
People are the same, more or less, as creations we haven’t changed much.
Of course we don’t look like the Neanderthals anymore, but we have the same basic needs as them.
Our bodies has changed to adjust to the environment and that is a process that has been going on for about 7 million years.
What our scientists has found is that the human brain has tripled its size during this time, with most of this growth occuring in the past two million years.

The size of the human brain is fully grown on a 12 year old child, but the brain itself is not fully developed until the age of 25.
So – when we complain about the youth and ask them why they don’t act as adults it is because that is physically impossible.
Our world is so complex, we get so many impulses from everything around us so it takes time for the brain to deal with it. Our world is so much more complicated than before and that is why it takes longer for the human brain to find new ways of handling everything .

The signals we get from the outside world doesn’t scramble around in an empty space, these signals must be decoded and sent to the right places for the correct reaction.
Think back to your own childhood for a while and suddenly you will realize how much has changed since you were a kid.
We have a lot now that didn’t exist before: internet, smart phones, social media, computers and all kinds of technical gadgets around us.
We have all that plus everything from the past so if you think it is hard for yourself to use all the moderns stuff, then you must understand how hard it is for a young person who has to learn everything from the start.

The pressure on the youth of today is harder than before.
You might disagree with me, but I will explain what I mean.
Maybe you had to work so much harder with your body, as you grew up, and your kids hasn’t been forced to do that.
Is it a blessing or are the kids nowadays only lazy?
Is it your choice as a parent to not force your kids to work as hard as you were forced to? Do you still remember how tired you were, and afraid of being hit with the stick if you weren’t fast enough out of bed?
If you have chosen a better life for your kids than the one you had, then it is a blessing because it shows that you have been reflecting and you wish something better for your kids.
Kids at all times has been lazy and tired, but have we considered the reasons for it?

When a child reaches puberty the body is changing a lot, it is easy to see the outer signs of it, but there is a lot going on on the inside which we can’t see.
Teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep each night because their bodies and brains are developing quickly.
You are considered a teenager until the age of 20, and remember what I told you before – the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25.
Teenagers are much more sleepy than others, not because they are lazier, but because their brains are working so hard and that is making them very tired.
The sleeping pattern is changing too, and that is what causes many of the problems teenagers have.
Young kids get sleepy around 8-9 PM but teenagers don’t get sleepy until 10-11 PM.
This is not because it is suddenly so much more fun to stay up late in the evening, but our brains are functioning like this.
This means that it is very hard for the youth to get enough sleep if they stay up late and are forced to get up early next morning to go to school.

Let’s say that your son is studying for his exam and he is up until midnight reading. The next morning he needs to be repeating some of the last things before the exam so he gets up at 6.
That is 6 hours of sleep, 3 hours too little, and maybe he didn’t sleep so well because he was nervous about the exam.
Another example: your teenaged daughter is very sleepy in the evening, but her father wants her to brew some attaya for him. The time is 10,30 PM and she has had a long day, but out of respect she begins to prepare for the attaya.

We know, all of us, that making attaya doesn’t go quick, so it takes at least 30 minutes for her to make it.
She is waiting for her father to drink up, carries the glass to the kitchen, makes sure that the charcoal has burnt out so it doesn’t cause a fire during the night.
Your daughter then goes to prepare herself for bed, gets some sleep but as being ambitious she gets up at 5,30 to study. Before she goes to school she has to help her mother with her younger brothers and sisters, sweep the floors and carry out the trashes. A long walk to school, too little to eat and drink, and a long walk back home again . When she is finally home a lot of chores are waiting for her, because she is a girl and by that expected to be the servant of the home.

This is a normal life for many, and maybe it is hard to change, but it can’t be hard to understand why our youth are so tired.
We have high expectations of them, and that is how it should be, but we must be aware that the world our youth live in is so different from when we grew up.
Lack of sleep is not onlymaking the youth tired, it can also cause health problems, both physically and mentally. They feel that the struggle doesn’t seem to lead them anywhere , there are not enough jobs, the ones that exist are poorly payed and then comes the environmental issues as the icing of the cake.

When I was young I could compare myself with the other girls at my school or the girls in the magazines. Photo shopping wasn’t invented still so the girls looked as they did, only with some make-up added.
Now adays you can change anything with the computers, the nose can become smaller, the breasts bigger, the legs longer, the waist thinner and women can get a gap between the thighs.
That last part is so sick!
It has been a trend among women to undergo surgery so they can get a gap between their thighs.
The trend expect young women’s bodies to look like young boy’s, except for with big boobs and without the ….package.

We are created in a certain way to protect our private parts and no one should interfere with that.
It is not only unnatural but it is also causing health problems.
Women’s private parts are so vulnerable and needs the protection of our inner thighs. Here in the colder part of the world mothers always warn their daughters to not sit on a cold surface in the wintertime. This is because the private parts need to have a certain temperature to remain healthy and we can very easily get urinary infection. Our urethra is very short and needs to be protected against infections.
Am I making you blush because I am telling you about these things?
I’m sorry for that, but with greater knowledge we get greater understanding for each other and as a teacher it is my mission to spread information.

Social media is very powerful and more powerful than what parents believes. The messages our youth are surrounded with are telling about a many times fake life. They see young boys and girls with a cool style, with expensive jewelry and clothing, with perfect bodies etc and everyone seem so happy .
Of course we want our youth to be happy but we can’t give them what the social media is telling they should have to become fulfilled.

What we need to do is to speak to our kids about these things, while they still listen to us.
We must try to understand their world, their expectations and their fears. If we speak WITH our kids and not only tell them what to do we will find that ”the youth of today” has a lot of wisdom and a lot to give. They are a bit different from us, elders, because the world is different, but the hopes and the anxiety for the future is the same, the questions about ”who am I” are the same. Build up an open relation with your child from the beginning and you will have a friend forever. Respect built on fear has no love, mutual respect is making your kids listening to you because they know that you listen to them and you care about them.
In the old days kids were the servants but it is better to serve each other.
With a greater knowledge comes a greater understanding so listen to each other and learn.

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