Israeli-born child psychologist and educator Haim G Ginott once said: “Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression.” On this note, let me also add that our children become who we say they are. This is precisely because they look up to us as parents to show them the way, even if they sometimes don’t agree with our views.
I find it concerning that people who were born in the 1980s and 1990s have decided to paint the 2000 generation with the same brush – as unruly, childish, irresponsible and reckless in their behaviour and attitudes.
This is very dangerous as it categorises these young people as incorrigible in a country where diversity remains our biggest strength. It is so wrong to assume that certain people can have similar characteristics because they were born in a particular decade or century, given that every person is unique.
The 2000 generation is a combination of ordinary young people who are behaving like any other children their age, and deserve to be shown the way. All people were once young and needed guidance to see the light. The only difference is that we are now parents and are obviously looking at life from a different standpoint and we are feeling overwhelmed, unlike when we were still children.
The 1980s and 1990s generation didn't grow up in a social media space so they didn't get to witness most of their childhood shenanigans captured via videos and pictures, and uploaded online, but they too had teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and teenage sex as social challenges. There will always be issues affecting young people and instead of demonising them and classifying them as a cursed generation, we should reach out to them.
Giving up on our children simply because we believe that they are a wicked generation that can’t be helped is tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot. Our children are the future of this country, therefore our job is to help them realise the worthiness of life, and not walk away from them based on how society has decided to describe them.
Let us not build a chaotic generation through unconscious child neglect. The 2000 generation is not cursed, it is rather a group of young people growing up in an environment where they need mentorship.
Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg, Mpumalanga