Why do some people look at today’s youth as a problem to solve rather than potential to fulfil?

This is a statement I heard many years ago and still to this time in my life it sticks in my head. Every day I see examples of this, it seems like things haven’t changed over the years. You hear about youths being labelled with such terms as challenging or disruptive and having behavioural problems. Of course every child is an individual and has the right to be treated differently so that they can feel equal to the person standing next to them. But these are generally the children who will get the most attention; these are the kids who usually make the most noise. Whether it is in the school setting or in a home with multiple children, there will always be a struggle for the attention of those around them.

You may be a Parent, Youth Leader or even a Teacher who all have their hearts in the right place to make a positive impact, but you face obstacles and challenges of your own every single day. In my experience one of the most common, and toughest, tasks we face is how do we balance our time? How do I balance spending 20 minutes battling with a stubborn child who refuses to do their homework compared to spending 20 minutes with a child who wants to learn and will cooperate fully? Sometimes I feel people see it as more of a victory if they get a small piece of work from a difficult child rather than getting a large amount of work from a child who is open to learning.

Maybe you feel like this might be your one chance to make that break through and make the difference in that child’s life and I’m talking an epiphany moment. But it’s easy to make the choice to fall on the side of the challenging behaviour because you know that the willing child will always be there ready to take in every piece of information like a sponge. Maybe we take these children for granted?

And why is this? Why do we always seem to gravitate towards the “problem to solve” rather than “potential to fulfil”? Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly how difficult and demanding things can get and I don’t expect people to be able to perform both tasks simultaneously but I am merely writing this hoping to raise people’s awareness that we CAN do both, we CAN solve the problem and we CAN fulfil potential.

We have such a massive responsibly as role models and as people who children look up to. Young people are so much braver than adults; they will say what’s on their minds without fear, they will be the ones who will ask to go to the highest rollercoaster and they will take risks that as you get older seem to disappear. But they are also ones who are most vulnerable and that feel their emotions the most.

No matter whether it is the noisy child in the middle of the shopping centre or the quiet child playing in the corner, they all want the same thing and that’s to feel accepted and loved. So don’t forget about the child that never causes any trouble, the child that is always pleasant and mannerly. These are the children who can slip through the cracks and become invisible but these are just as deserving of our time and effort as anyone else. These too deserve our help and support because a fire burns deep in every single child and it’s our job to help them shine upon everyone they come in contact with. Think of every child as a beautiful flower in its own special way. All are different shapes, sizes and colours. Some are strong and vibrant whereas others are weak and faded. But they are all incredible in their own unique manner.  

I want to leave you with this question; is it better to nurse a dying flower back to life or to nurture, grow and encourage a flower to bloom into something so magnificent that when people see its beauty it takes their breath away? I believe that you can discuss both sides of this question for eternity, but hopefully by engaging in this discussion we will all become aware that there is victory in winning over the impossible child but there is also triumph in watching a child reach places they never believed their ability could take them.  

Stephen Murphy


1 comment

  1. This piece was cogent, wel-wlritten, and pithy.

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