JEFF BROOMES: Encourage youth to be big dreamers
THE ICONIC American civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King in his seminal address openly declared that he had a dream. His dream projected a life as it could be and which was infinitely better than what it was. All his life work was focused on realising that dream.
He, like all great leaders, accepted that no decision of worth ever presents immediate results. Life must be seen as a quest for answers to all pressing questions and challenges. As the outstanding economist Paul Samuelson suggests. “Good questions outrank easy answers!”
Youth must be shaped, prepared and challenged in a plethora of ways to live in, manipulate and reinvent our world of today, theirs of tomorrow and that for others who will come after them – the veritable mission and work of dreamers!
It is my belief that the greatest thing in the world is an energised and engaged youthful spirit. Your spirit is your thinking, the manifestation of your values and the driving force of your actions. Hence, one does not dream wildly, but with a positive goal shaped by respect, intellect and a sense of decency.
None of us, however, lives in a cocoon. Influences by the varied views of our friends at school, at social gatherings and even at church also impact as we decide between equally deserving but conflicting options.
It is also a constant, if not an open, battle with parents and their view of life. The vision of youth is invariably different from that of their parents. This is a manifestation of the constantly changing face of education.
Whereas, today’s youth do subtraction through dissolution, we were taught with a focus on borrowing and paying back. Whereas rote learning was major in our lives as well as constant trips to the library, today’s youth are driven by technology, the computer, the tablet and the smart phone.
While we were told and guided, education is now driven by curiosity. Youth are expected to explore and discover. They must question and coordinate tactics to support strategies. That is the new world in which they live, a world in which they are energised in the quest for answers!
The challenge, however, will be real as youth seek to fashion and pursue their dreams. Persons of all ages, even those who are supporters, have difficulties understanding and accepting things they do not know and cannot see. And that is what dreams are! How they will unfold is not even known to the dreamer.
Things are made even more difficult by others who see their role as simply to blunt progress. They put an untruth on the road with the understanding that the truth will always have difficulty catching up with it. We as adults must help children understand that all roads come to an end and they must stay committed to their goals, their dreams and avoid the defensive retorts.
Encourage them to let their actions over time speak for them. When the road ends, their expressed actions, not their words, will speak for who and what they are! Youth, like their dreams, must be allowed to be shaped by clear values that propel their career choices and ensure a positive future.
Let children be dreamers with innovative dreams. I don’t mean daydreamers who are time wasters nor night dreamers who are sleepers. Let them be genuine dreamers who are creative, principled planners.
Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser, who also served as a vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]