On wasting the positive energy of our young men...
Young men: my son is one. One I am very proud of actually. He is full of energy, nearly as tall as his dad and has ideas for Africa (and as we live in Africa I think Africa is lucky to have him...)
Truly we are lucky to have our young men. And yet they are the ones everyone grumbles about. The troublemakers, mess-makers, eaters extraordinaire, most likely to commit violent crimes, people we are scared of on the street...
After all I am almost sure that the people who broke Lebogang’s Centers windows were bored young men. And the person screaming between lanes without indicating is so often a young man – probably in a fantasy world where he is saving the world and getting the girl – or something.
In times of conflict who do we use as they seem most suited for the job? Young men. (Yes I know more women are part of this now but I am not actually happy that any soft, lithe young bodies get put in front of guns however courageous everyone says they are – or how happy to be living some Rambo type dream . ) And old power hungry men (and women) use young men to get and enforce that power.
Yes, young people often don’t know that it is possible for them to die. It is still a rather foreign concept. And I am glad that in the world we have people with ideals and limit-free thoughts. I even think that young people without that lose out an essential part of being a human.
My son is not a trouble (yes he often leaves his clothes on the floor and seldom puts his towel back in the bathroom) but he is a wonderful person to talk to. His ideas range all over and he is so kind and thoughtful. He feels unsullied to me. Full of energy yes, and sometimes buzzing there is so much of it. (I know why soccer and rugby came into being...) In fact – what the world needs is all this wonderful energy, hope and enthusiasm.
But I know that not all young men are like him. Although we have been parents with all too many flaws at least we have been able to be there for him. Not all young men are so lucky. To many young men have no fathers, or if they do fathers who have no idea of how to be a father (because, of course, their fathers had no idea). Too many young men have to look for confirmation of ‘who they are’ from gangs, drugs, alcohol, speed or if they have been made to feel particularly powerless – from hurting the women who they are supposed to care for.
This is OUR fault! We fail those in the world with the most energy. And we do need to start looking after our young men from when they are tiny babies. By not denying them their emotional needs by loving them unconditionally, tenderly and gently. So that they know what it is to care for and nurture others. (And strangely enough it does not turn them into womanly men – just stronger men.)
We cannot learn from what we did not have – and if we fail to care well for little boys they will only learn how to fail to care for others.
And then their wonderful energy and life force will be blighted and wasted.