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Our children are our future; let's LISTEN and teach them well!

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When children grow up, the quality of listening of the adults around them is vital for their psychological development. Children who have been well listened too are likely not only to feel accepted by others but also to be able to accept themselves. Furthermore, they have had the safety to express and explore their feelings. Thus they have been helped to acquire the capacity of inner listening, listening to and trusting their own feelings and reactions, which is an essential part of outer listening, listening to others.
http://rosaz.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/inner-listening-and-outer-listening/

Additionally, having at least one reliable parent who listens well provides them with a secure base to engage in exploratory behaviour and make personal experiences that are enriching. Children not only learn from the consequences of their behaviour provided by other people but from the consequences or feedback they receive from their feelings.
Children who have not been adequately listened to are likely to be more out of touch with their feelings, more afraid and anxious, and more aggressive and violent. Just as good listening can affirm the core of another’s being, bad listening can disconfirm it. As such, bad listening perpetrated regularly may be viewed as a significant form of psychological violence, even if often unintended.

In South Africa, a country filled with high levels of violence, high levels of sexual crimes amongst children, and a bleak outlook for many youth entering the job market, the future is not so promising.

This is the message that our youth see and hear.
http://www.southafrica.info/business/economy/development/youth-200313.ht...

The level of unemployment in South Africa was reported to have decreased in the fourth quarter of 2012 by 0.1%, down from 25% to 24.9% (2012 Fourth Quarter Labour Survey). Sadly though...while any reduction in the unemployment rate is good news, in truth this minimal change reflects more an increase in the number of discouraged employment seekers (youth who are no longer looking for work), than an actual increase in employment.

There is another dimension to the of lack of quality and basic education that is of concern in South Africa, namely a deep fear of failure and of the unknown. Fear is normal for any new employee, but for youth, raised by parents who have either held menial jobs, or no job at all, employment is truly an unknown factor. Add to this the enormous pressure to succeed from a family for whom this may be the first graduate, or indeed the first real job, and one then begins to understand some of the pressure, faced by many youth.

Our youth need mentors that can support and assist them to develop skills to empower themselves and develop healthy images of the self, not worry about safety in schools, and taking on responsibilities of unwanted pregnancies or marrying to young.

We need to foster a culture of shared responsibility where we enable society to a shift in social change rather than perpetuate attributes of gender inequality that further lessens options for girl children in an educational system with a myriad of challenges in learning and teaching.

This can be very confusing and conflicting for any young child / adolescent. When in conflict our youth may find it difficult to perceive themselves and others accurately. For instance, by choosing to attribute blame to others, their situations, they may also be choosing to absolve themselves of any responsibility to make their lives more fulfilled.

Quality education should be a right, not a privilege.

It is tempting to blame poverty for our education problems, but the evidence seems to suggest otherwise, in South Africa compared to mainly low-income countries in Africa, we still perform poorly. http://www.info.gov.za/issues/education/index.html

We must find ways to improve access to education amongst a myriad of other challenges. We need to create spaces where both our girl and boy children are equipped with interpersonal skills that will strengthen their sense of a good self and sensitize school curriculums to gender matters, with all teachers training, developing the capacity for basic counselling skills.

Children should feel that they are catered for in a society challenged by many disparities, and at the same time feel a sense of worth in homes where many adults are feeling let down by failed systems.
We need a shift that empowers the young minds to assist in solving the problems of today for tomorrow, while learning from the mistakes of yesterday through a system of shared responsibility.

Our children are our future; we need to teach them well!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

libudsuroy's picture

Dear MyrtleG, I love the way

Dear MyrtleG, I love the way you essayed the solutions. One important lesson I learned from you today is the reminder that the boy children cannot be left behind. That for a gender-fair, gender-sensitive future, we need to take care of them, girls and boys. Thank you very much!

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Katharina's picture

You are absolutely right!

I really, really enjoyed reading your post. I absolutely agree with you, listening to children, providing them with security and safety is so important for their development. It seems to be such a simple thing to do, still, listening properly to kids' concerns and thoughts is often neglected. Thank you so much for pointing that out! Very much looking forward to reading more from you!

innerdelight's picture

Starts with us

Hi Myrtle,

What a great article. I love the emphasis on starting at home, how important it is for children to be heard. And yet, how challenging it can be when parents have not had this experience themselves and how this can put so much pressure on the youth to perform well.

The following really stood out for me:

"Our youth need mentors that can support and assist them to develop skills to empower themselves and develop healthy images of the self, not worry about safety in schools, and taking on responsibilities of unwanted pregnancies or marrying to young."

"Children should feel that they are catered for in a society challenged by many disparities, and at the same time feel a sense of worth in homes where many adults are feeling let down by failed systems.
We need a shift that empowers the young minds to assist in solving the problems of today for tomorrow, while learning from the mistakes of yesterday through a system of shared responsibility."

"Our children are our future; we need to teach them well!"

I look forward to reading more from you. And wouldn't it be great if to have programs in place to offer support to not only the children but also the parents and teachers. When they have the experience of feeling safe to express themselves, then they can pass this on to others, be great mentors.
I see you as a mentor for many to come.

joyful blessings,
Tina

adeakins's picture

Education & Employment Are The Keys

I think you hit the nail on the head - quality education, and access to quality employment. Youth become disenfranchised if they put a good amount of effort in becoming educated, but have no opportunities after they complete that education. So as you have said, it's not just enough to fight for a good education, we also have to fight for good jobs!

kimmlarson's picture

Starting at the very beginning

Thank you, Myrtle, for your powerful and provoking journal. This entry really resonated for me on numerous levels. Your articulately stated that simply listening and providing a safe space for children to grow and learn is vital to their future. Furthermore, it's a shared responsibility. We all are part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution. You're an inspiring writer, and I thank you for inspiring me. I hope you continue to write and work towards creating change. Women and men, your community, and the world needs you as a leader, because through your work you can empower others to be their own leaders.

SO again, I thank you!
Kim

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