“Youthfulness”; what comes to your mind when you hear this? To many, it’s a time of enthusiasm or a time to “enjoy your life”. A lot of problems we have with the youth today is that majority of us depend on stereotypes to live. If we change our mindsets, we would definitely change a lot of things positively. For better understanding, I decided to divide my “fight on youthful stereotypes” into two parts:
1. Stereotypes amongst the YouthsI remember telling someone my hobbies and things that “I do for fun” and I was termed “a boring person”. Give me lots of novels, movies & food, and you’ve become my best person. That is me and that is what I enjoy doing and I would definitely not force anyone into my lifestyle. But, what bothers me, is that people are ridiculed for not conforming to the “stereotypical youthful lifestyle” where I have to be all jumpy, go from outing to outing, go clubbing on Fridays and so on. If I say “Thank God it’s Friday”, I’m saying “Phew, I can sleep like a baby and decide to wake around 10am without worrying about lectures or work”. To someone else, it might mean something different and that is totally fine. We shouldn’t force a stereotypical lifestyle on others and we shouldn’t also struggle to change our lifestyle because someone called us boring. Reading books is extremely interesting to me; kudos to you if it’s not.
You open social media and see, “Fargin! What is that, please?” I saw a post one day that said, “Nobody 18 and above is still a virgin” and someone else commented, “That’s totally impossible nah”. What kind of disgusting stereotype is that? In this present day, sexual immorality is so much celebrated that even people who don’t want to indulge in it do so because of pressure. I’ve seen people who in order to justify whatever they are doing in an attempt to make themselves feel better say, “Well, everyone is doing it”.
Stereotypes can ruin you because they don’t give room for self evaluation. They don’t signal you when you’ve too far, because “that’s what everyone is doing”, right? This particular guy was telling his story of how he used to be promiscuous in his university days. The story was all shades of awkward because it was like he was saying, “That lifestyle was for that period of time; I’ve grown past that”. Most of those stories end with “Enjoy your youth, you only live once”. Sexual immorality is not a youthful thingy. It is for anyone who decides to engage in it. Stop allowing people to make you feel like you’re obligated to engage in these things and those who don’t, have some super powers. No, those who don’t are human beings who decided not to and refused to bend to stereotypes”
Do we also talk about being focused and pursing your dream? They’ll say you’re “too serious”. You can decide to wait till you’re 35 before you start planning your life, but don’t rub off ugly stereotypes on people who decide to start planning at 19. When you decide to be a resourceful person at your early stage in life, people see you as a gemstone because “youths your age aren’t focused”. Can we stop this, please?
Speaking of personal convictions; I’ll keep hammering it in your heart. It takes someone who has personal convictions to stand! Especially against the tide of stereotypes.
I turn a blind eye to most of them because I know what defines me and where I’m headed. If I decide today to conform to these stereotypes I discussed above, it would be a personal decision and I will be very much accountable. IT WOULDN’T BE BECAUSE I’M A YOUTH!
2. Stereotypes amongst the elderlyIf I’m going to summarize it into a phrase, I’d say “youths are synonymous to sinners”. This particular stereotype hurts sometimes because it’s strange that someone would make such a conclusion about you because of your age.
Someone said something:
“This generation is so bad”; maybe it’s because sermons to the youth are focused on how bad they are instead of how God can pull them out of the dirt or how they can decide to be “not bad”. The truth is, we’re all “bad” at every age, but we have a good Saviour. You would enter the church and see that “certain activities can’t be handed to the youth because they’re “genetically predisposed to sin”.
All we do is hear complaint about “these youths”, but what we don’t know is that all these statements give excuses for these youths to “do bad things”. Remember my last post about how stereotypes are passed from generations to generations? These kinds of stereotypes will make youths act a certain way and when they become the “elderly”, they take up to role of criticizing the youth and this will go on in cycles without us solving the problem. While this is me telling the elderly to stop stereotypical criticism, I am also pleading with the youth to not allow these stereotypes define them. I’ve seen hardworking, selfless, devote and role model-youths receive the “All these youths” criticism and to be honest, it is very discouraging and disheartening. Are we going to let these stereotypes define us?
If I decide to dress a certain way, it’s not because I want to look “youthful”, it’s because I love that clothing and I want to look smart and modest. Ask yourself why you dress the way you dress. That’s how your friends dress? That’s what is trending? Ask yourself why you carry out certain actions as a youth. Are they based on stereotypes or personal convictions?
Let’s decide to be youths with a difference—Anti-stereotypical youths!
Let’s be youth who decide to give back to life. Salvation is not for the old; it is for everyone and as long as we’re saved, we live a life in Christ, who has given us grace to stand out and live for him. Remember that David in the Bible was young when God called him and stood against all stereotypes that he “young and useless”. Remember he insisted on making a difference even when others thought he was “bluffing”. Remember he didn’t have to wait to become King before he started influencing lives.
Let’s be like David
Have a nice life.