We use age for everything, as it is supposed to measure our level of maturity and development. The more I age, the more I start to realize the meaning of “age is just a number”. You see young adults making career-changing events that provide them with more money than you could ever imagine. You see relationships have a spread of 5-15 years of an age difference but they couldn’t be happier. This shows that age is just a number we use to limit ourselves and to categorize everyone else.
For example, I am a seventeen-year-old girl who finished high school early, travelled and lived across country, is a reporter (of who didn’t go to post-secondary), and I tend to get this phrase more times than I’d like: “wow, you are so young and yet have accomplished way too much, you’re trouble ** insert massive eye roll**”. It’s like my age puts me into a category that is unheard of doing great things.
I find my age group is known as undesirable teens who think about no one other than themselves. Spoiled teenagers who drink illegally, cause hate crimes, do drugs, and are about to get a large reality check about what life is really like. Although that is not me and hardly anyone else I know.
I am seventeen but I see a purpose, I see people, I see opportunity, I see adventure, I see change and am inspired by change, I see world issues, I see reality, but I am still looked over because I am only seventeen.
My point in this article is to address the importance of addressing teens. To see what they are really like, to embrace their young ability to strive and their ideas to change the world. To understand their perspectives. To understand who they are before labeling them with the age number.
Do not get me wrong when I speak highly of teenagers because there are cases where trouble has been made, but not everyone is like that. The more people I meet and the more I get to understand them with them also understanding me, never seem to guess my age right. But when I tell them the truth, their eyes glow up like they’ve just seen something from outer space.
It is time to start learning from the younger generations, to see what we can do, what we think about, and most importantly; who we are. This goes with everything, from relationships to mental health to their creative minds. Try learning about them before you slap on that label.
Before you know it, some young teenager will come into your life and you will be able to see their importance, their desires, their ambition, their goals and their futures. It is all in front of you and when you ask, listen and believe, you are allowing that child acceptance. Acceptance for their ideas, acceptance for their dreams to come true. You are providing a sense of encouragement, instead of just pushing them away as if they are not people.
The younger generations are the face of what earth is becoming. We are the people who will be here when time has passed and people have moved on. We are going to be here with our thoughts, dreams and desires, but if we do not get the encouragement to shine at our young age, then we may never. This generation feeds off encouragement and probably more than we should, but at the same time, that is something that takes time and effort to change. What would have happened if Albert Einstein was neglected enough that he decided to quit, or Nelson Mandela, or Da Vinci, or Abraham Lincoln? The world wouldn’t be where it is today, and if we want to keep improving life on earth, we need to give the younger generations a chance to be heard and taken into consideration. What’s the worst that can happen? A child gains confidence and respect, but fails with her ideas and is told to continue as she will one day change mankind. That child may give up, but another child may spend her life finding a solution that changes the world.
Age is not just a number. Age is a way of defining people, a way of neglecting people of their abilities. We need to change that and provide the younger generations with the respect to their opinions. We can change the face of the world and I think it can happen soon. So let’s start making that change and inspiring the younger generations to become their best selves and to follow their dreams.
Let’s change the face of this earth, and stand together while we do it.