So often, youth are told that we are the leaders of the future. We eventually will have to lead. We will be running business, companies, services, and countries. But, what happens when we are never taught to lead at a young age?
Right now in the world, one in every fourth person is a youth. We are a vital part of society. When you look in your community you can see youth leaders. When youth are empowered they emerge as leaders, and are capable of making a positive change. They demand better, and make it better. This is why it so important that a variety of leaders use their best effort to empower youth. A lot of people ask me how they become involved, and become a leader when there is no opportunities in the field that want to lead in. Not everyone wants to make a difference in politics or advocacy. Some want to go into different fields, and we need opportunities for youth to explore all fields, not just the convenient ones to encourage youth.
So when we say empower youth, what does it mean? It means, youth are given a voice, and opportunities to engage and contribute to the conversation. It means youth are recognized as capable, and are able to chase their ambitions without fear of being brushed aside and not taken seriously. It means youth are given a seat at the table.
In many cases, youth tend to shy away from chasing their ambitions when they are still a youth, out of fear for not being taken seriously. It is a stereotype that youth lack the drive, passion, or ability to acquire success at such a young age. But, this is far from true. Most of the time, youth need someone to believe in them. We need a hand up, not a hand out.
When we invest in youth, we invest in their success, their goals, and the future. Investing in the potential of youth is vital.
So here is some ways we can empower youth.
Listen. Youth need the opportunity to have a voice, and that voice needs to be listened to, not just heard.
Be a mentor. It can be one of the most empowering moments to work with a role model of success.
Be open. Youth are of a different era. They may express new ideas, that may be different from traditional ones. Actively listen and try to learn and understand their ideas.
Give youth a seat at the table. If you don’t have youth at your table, you don’t have enough seats.
Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Pope John Paul II said, “ The future starts today not tomorrow.” We need to work to empower youth, so that they feel valued and motivated to be leaders, in whichever direction they choose to go. Empowered youth = empowered CEO’s, directors, politicians, humanitarians, business owners, business workers, employee’s, parents, and so so much more.