Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Twenty first century young adults

Over the last year and a half, I have been volunteering to work with young adults from teenage to early twenties. It has been very interesting, shocking and I have learnt so much.

It has been interesting because I have met some truly driven people who inspire me.
Shocking, at the level of ignorance considering that this generation has everything at their disposal to learn. The effects social media has on these children is saddening as it is mostly negative. The selective reading tilts more to gossip and entertainment but little about things that could help to build them up.
But I have also met some extremely intelligent and super driven ones who impress me each time we speak. I learn from all of them.

Last weekend, the topic we were discussing was 'my big picture'. It was a topic we discussed for a period of time. We took turns, with each person having to talk about their plans and goals, and it was inevitable to present such a topic without giving some practical examples including personal ones. I talked about one goal I hoped to achieve which I have already started working towards.


During the class, two boys tried to disrupt the class a few times while some others were telling us all very impressive things they were doing. I had to ask them to stop as if they didn't need advise from me, others seemed keen so they could not be a distraction to everyone else.

After the class, one of those boys walked up to me. Looking at him from a distance, he looked like a smart young man but from talking to him, I realised that he had put certain limitations on himself. He seems to have put himself in a box. I had a somewhat unnerving conversation with him.

I asked him to take a seat as he said he had a few questions for me. 
He started by letting me know that the goal I shared seemed unachievable from his point of view. I asked how and his reply was...'I do not see a ring on your finger'. That took me by surprise, but I asked him what that had to do with anything. From his perspective, a man is meant to raise the capital a woman might need. I reminded him first that each individual has a right to make their own decisions and determine how they would like their lives to be, being married or unmarried does not stop a person particularly a woman from achieving her goals.

He looked me in the face then asked if I earned up to a certain amount, my reply was 'more'. At that point, something changed in his eyes then he told me he didn't think I would earn up to that but since I do, he would like me to have his account number. Then he went on to say I have this uncle and started to list some assets his uncle had...I stopped him and made him understand that I am in no hurry to get married to anyone because of material things. I will only marry someone who complements me and vice versa, there are so many things to consider.

He had one more silly question for me which I answered then I stirred him back to what the subject of the class was. He had no real plan as his plans were up in the air so I gave him a task to go home with, and to think about the two things he mentioned during the class, then write his plan and set timelines for both on separate sheets of papers, then we could discuss that the following week if he liked. 

Now my concern would be: 
- why would a twenty first century teenager who is already in a higher institution of learning still have such a thought pattern about women?!
- Would this be a reflection of society's expectations?
- Could this be from what he sees or was taught at home?
- Or does he just have plain disregard for women?


Photo credit: Google images



2 comments:

  1. Interesting and shocking indeed. First, I commend you for volunteering your time and services to engage with young people. You won't get through to everyone, as you have found, but who knows, even with the most difficult and unenlightened characters you are giving them something to think about which might just improve their outlook and their lives. I'm not sure I can comment on Nigerian society, but the individual you talk most about comes across as a selfish and misogynistic character who really needs to think more deeply about partnerships between men and women. He would do well to read one of your previous pieces on feminism and relationships. I hope someone sends him a link. If this young man is a reflection and, actually, a perpetrator of society's expectations, then alas society has a long way to go. Attendance at a higher education institution by such characters is not enough, as you have found. Still, what you are doing in terms of engaging and sharing and encouraging is admirable. You are setting a fine example here. One last thing. I find it interesting that you are concerned for this individual, in saying that he has limited and put himself in a box. This is generous of you, since he himself has so clearly decided it's alright to limit his expectations of others, and that others will have to comply with such a male dominated and unfair way of life. He really does need to learn. To close here...For you, good luck in your endeavours. I enjoyed reading about your experiences, and many other will too. So that's another good outcome from your efforts.

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  2. Thank you Eddie. I try not to let such individuals stop what I might be trying to achieve. I'll see if he comes back and hopefully he might have thought about things or else, there is only so much I can do for someone who is unwilling to be helped.
    I'm glad you enjoyed reading this experience.

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