Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Children of the Century, Found Wanting

Here in the UK, many if not most young people today have a rough time, especially given that they nearly always get a bad press. There is far too much stereotyping of young people going on. Most manage to rise above it all and make society proud. But if some appear to have lost their way in life, even despair of ever getting a job, whose fault is that? 

Youth unemployment is high across the whole of Europe, and what is being done about it? There is no quick fix, but just because people are young doesn’t mean they want and need to feel any less valued and inspired than the rest of us; if anything, they want and need to feel even more valued and inspired, not repeatedly written off for being lazy and/or potential criminals. Perhaps many don’t have the skills a modern society demands. So whose fault is that? What exactly are our schools teaching, for goodness sake? If education in our schools and colleges is meant to prepare young people for the roller coaster we call life, it doesn't strike me as having made a very good job of it for some years now. 

If mature adults are meant to lead by example, our ‘maturity’ has a lot to answer for. When I go shopping in London or just out for a walk, I am often appalled at the way some people of my generation behave.  Yes, some young people can be ‘difficult’ but my generation is certainly not blameless, and I can see how many younger people are inclined to write a good few of us off for being ‘difficult’, not least judgmental. 

So how about we all stop playing the blame game and give each other the respect and support every human being deserves?


Wandering dark tunnels,
lost and afraid;
Regulation torch for company,
imitation fur for the cold;
Batteries running low,
heartbeats erratic;
Oh, but which way to go?
(Hard, not to panic);
Where there’s life, there’s hope
or so they say;
Live to fight another day?
Brave words...
when the Dark is rising,
Styx threatening to burst
its banks

Pressing on, negotiating
infernal terrors;
pinpricks of light - comedy
of our errors
played out to the end…
Look. Listen. Hear. Be sure
rescuers descending;
Faith, Hope, Charity,
waiting round the next bend
(and still waiting?)

Children of the 21st Century
found wanting...

[Note: First published as 'Children of the Century' in First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; trv. ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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