Dear Youth: Tap Into Your Inner Strength

Contrary to the ‘lovey-dovey’ letters you are used to, I want to celebrate this year’s Youth Day with you by telling some hard truths and provoking your thoughts.

I often heard an idiom as a youth that “experience is the best teacher and concurred many years ago but now retrospectively, a much older me feels it should have read “observation, experience, and storytelling are the best teachers”.

Often times, today’s youth throw in the towel after a few knocks and for some, after the very first knock.  This can clearly be seen in almost every facet of today’s youthful life such as schooling, working, relationships, health /lifestyle and even in spirituality.

I have observed with sadness the high number of drop-outs from schools (not necessarily caused by financial difficulties but due to a lack of focus, drive, passion, and sometimes peer pressure); the lackadaisical attitude displayed at work resultant in ridiculously high amount of disciplinary actions and dismissal from the work place; the fast paced mindset and an era of  impatience evidenced even in today’s food consumed by our youth  (fast foods, instant coffee, instant noodles, the list is endless ), and lifestyle such as fast cars, fast ways to make money, fast  tracked promotions, fast fame, fast internet marriages and in many cases the need of instant gratification. Do not get me wrong, fastness is great (e.g. Internet connection) but our youth must ensure that the very same fastness is sustainable and not lethal.  Interestingly and generally speaking, I also noticed that today’s youth offers creative solutions nonetheless paradoxically finds it difficult to take the strain or to regroup when things do not go as planned.

I have experienced 1st hand as a youth the importance of having a positive attitude, courage, perseverance, selflessness, humility, resilience and tenacity. These are but some qualities that will sustain individual successes for the long haul (this dynamic journey of life which is filled with unpredictability). Nevertheless, there have also been many slips made along even the most thought off, planned and mapped out phases of my life but the ability to be painstaking as well as to  bounce back against all odds has made me tick.  Today, I have no regrets as I believe that at every given point in my life, I strive to give the best that is humanly possible.

One of the major reasons I love to tell my stories is to encourage the youth to tap into their inner strengths to overcome fear, to be able to bear, to see the positive in the negative, to treat others the way they want to be treated, to be a rainbow that symbolises hope and also to have faith in God because the solutions to these trepidation, vulnerability and faintheartedness are not found in the clouds or in an external hard drive stored in the Artic.  The solution lies within today’s youth.

Thus this is a call to you to move out of your comfort zones. To thread where no one dares, to tap into your inner strength and “Go for it” and no matter how many times you fall, rise again and keep moving. The most important thing is for the youth not to stop and be despondent; not to throw in the towels and look for the fastest but perhaps unsustainable way out.  Again, whatever it takes, do not forget to tap into your inner strength and keep moving in only one direction – FORWARD, plus do so with a deliberate choice to be the best version of yourself whilst also fulfilling your purpose.

Lots of love,

Written by GWF Head of Programmes and Campus Operations Maria Goretti Awogu.