Happy Youth Day!

“We, the people of South Africa, have journeyed far since the long lines of our first democratic election on 27 April 1994, when we elected a government for us all. We began to tell a new story then. We have lived and renewed that story along the way. Now in 2030 we live in a country which we have remade. We have created a home where everyone feels free yet bounded to others, where everyone embraces their full potential. We are proud to be a community that cares. We have received the mixed legacy of inequalities in opportunity and in where we have lived, but we have agreed to change our narrative of conquest, oppression, resistance…” The vision statement of our country’s National Development Plan speaks about how far we’ve come as people of South Africa and the endless possibilities of a remade country with incredible opportunities that could be realised.

Despite the massive challenges, we continue to face as a country, as we celebrate Youth Day on June 16th, we MUST give focus to the young people of our country.  Any possibility of a “remade” country depends on them. South Africa’s future depends on them. Our young people must be thought that fairness and equality does matter. They should be taught that crime and corruption is not and should never be accepted as the norm.

Achieving the goals of the NDP by 2030 is a tall order, but not impossible.  The bottom-line is that all of us; children, youth, adults, senior citizens, and government officials, of our beautiful country can choose to make this vision a reality.  We need a reconditioned mindset to envisage the realisation of a remade South Africa. We must think, speak, and do things differently – doing for self-gain must be put to death – in all things; our words, actions and deeds, consideration should be given to the many ways in which we can positively impact circumstances for not only ourselves but others around us as well.

We cannot exercise control over others, but we do have control over ourselves.  We can choose to be positive examples for the young people around us. We can be influencers of change! Raising a child requires giving attention to their overall growth and development at every phase of their lives. It’s easier when you are assisting a child, however a little more work is needed to help youth develop and grow into mature, independent, and upright members of our community. External factors may affect them, but when sound foundations have been established, it won’t change who they are.  Let us determine to be a catalyst for social change.

The following is an interesting article on social influence on positive youth development: A developmental neuroscience perspective. An insight in emerging evidence highlighting how social influences from both peers and family can play a positive role in adolescents’ adjustment in society. Click here for the full article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345387/

Source: National Library of Medicine (This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01DA039923 to Telzer) and the National Science Foundation (SES 1459719 to Telzer).