The Voices of Youth

On Wednesday evening we attended our local theatre complex for performances from some of the local high schools.  It was called “Take Over” and the theme was ‘Thinking Big and Global’.  There were three schools involved, each presenting two short plays.  We went because my grandson was in one of them, but it wasn’t in any way the boring or ho hum performances that we’ve sat through in the past (in the name of support your grandchildren).

The students were from Years nine through to  Year 12.  No costumes, but most groups dressed the same, minimal props and each play was limited to twenty minutes.

Starting off with the students views on a variety  of related subjects such as  Earth Hour, Parity — more views on gender roles, Belonging — which was about arriving in a strange land, a refugees viewpoint.  Then there was the Cycle which showcased poverty, gender inequality, domestic violence and the effects on the family.  Other topics covered were slavery, domestic violence and the judgment of others by their appearance.

One group asked the question “What would happen if we looked at things from a different perspective?  What would happen if we stopped judging people by their appearances?”

The final group tackled the Seven Deadly Sins — of Social Media!  Really entertaining and enlightening.

On the whole it was a very thought provoking evening, and we were well entertained.  But what struck me the most was that here is a group of people whose views on life  we largely ignore.  I’m not suggesting that we don’t take any notice of them, but from ages fourteen to seventeen we are busy organising their lives with school, sports and music lessons.  Complaining about their focus on devices and social media, nagging them to participate in family chores, but not really looking or listening to their views on current affairs.

They certainly have them, but I believe a lot of the time we don’t bother to ask their opinion.  They often go unheard as we parents (from memory) are involved in the manic race to provide a home, food  and ‘good’ schooling for our growing children.  To get them ready for the ‘real world’ when they finish school.

We worry about the world we’ve brought these young adults into, and bemoan the fact that there is racism, terrorism, violence, bullying and so on.

Are we typecasting them as being addicted to war games, social media and sloth?  What if we really looked at what we have, and appreciated it as it is.  What sort of examples are we really setting for them?

I notice that although my grandson appears to be absorbed in his computer or phone, he can still tell me what is going on in the TV show thats running! (Note to self — don’t talk about him even though he doesn’t seem to be listening!)

Suicide is a tragedy at any age, but never more so when it takes our youth.  I don’t have all the answers, but listening to those young people on Thursday evening was quite inspiring.  It gave me an abundance of food for thought.

As one of the groups suggested — perhaps we could

‘Accept the whole world and never lose hope.’



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