By James Ngugi –
Many parents, employers and a horde of many other youth handlers are incessantly lamenting about the quality, demeanour and attitude of our youth.
There are myriads of complaints ranging from a mode of dressing to levels of perseverance at workplaces.
Many employers have been heard complaining that the young graduates are grossly irresponsible and unable to fit in a systematic bureaucracy that demands strict discipline.
It’s the same scenario in schools as teachers have to contend with pupils whose “helter skelter” attitude and modus operandi is a constant thorn in their flesh.
Many teachers will tell you that they are adopting a policy of seeing no evil at worst or appeasement at best so as to have their way with the children placed under their care.
As an experienced and passionate child handler, I have agonised over this matter for a long time.
I think those of us who are at the various helm of leadership or authority needs to change our perception about our youths.
Yes, our youngsters may portray ‘weird’ or uncultured behaviour but where did they pick this from, from the blues?
Certainly, they’ve picked this from the environment in which we have big control over.
The boys and the girls are having no one to listen to. Their handlers and their only hope and guides are impatient with them.
We are judgmental and dismissive. Many of us expect our children to maintain the same code of conduct like us yet we do not have time to infuse in them those valuable tenets!
We are busy lamenting and complaining yet hesitant to embrace proactive and productive programs to structure our youth.
In as much as we can nostalgically reflect on our good old days, I think it behooves all of us to demonstrate this “goodness” to our children.
One way of doing so is by being there for our children and walking with them through the delicate and complex journey towards realization of their cherished dream.
All children want to succeed but they need a “compass holder” and probably a “compass engineer “.
Their journey to success as you will agree with me is more intricate, competitive and full of deceit and ruthlessness than it was during our times.
If our children are not well grounded on life skills, they are likely to fall on the wayside. Many others become depressed and completely lose focus.
It’s at this time that our young men and women are helplessly stretching their hands to us. It’s a travesty of justice when we turn our backs to them and run away from them.
When we collectively christen them as hoodlums and pejoratively call them “kababa” generation, then we run the risk of alienating our “future” from us.
This is a deadly mistake. By the way, who created Kababa, did they not come from our loins and wombs, did we not nurture them to be the kababa they are?
I hold the view and strongly so that the best way to deal with the young man of today is to be as closer to him or her than before.
Selfless Mentoring and creative Monitoring holds the key to successful nurturing of our youth. Ingawaje wahenga walisema “Samaki mkunje angali mbichi,” pia tukumbuke “Mwenda tezi na omo, marejeo ni ngamani.”
We can’t run away from this predicament. We must fold our sleeves, reach out to our youths and walk with them.
Finally, I am sending a passionate plea to wielders of positions and power to embrace the young graduates or undergrads who are seeking attachment, pupilage, an internship or teaching practice in your institutions.
Shunning them in the pretext that they are lazy, ill-prepared, half-baked or even discourteous is not helping them.
Some of us are even turning down offers from our children to give voluntary work. We are treating our youth as if they are suffering from a strange disease!
If we do not open our doors to them, then who will?
It’s time we go back to our children; dine with them, play with them listen to them but above all – Walk with them. It’s the only way we can positively impact on them and change them.
AUTHOR: James Ngugi is a teacher of Kiswahili and History and Government in Kiirua Boys School, Meru County.