As a college student and a young person, I hear negative comments all of the time. I hear negative remarks about my college major, which is communications with a minor in marketing. People ask me why I would want to major in that or what the heck I am going to do with it. Although I do not know exactly what I want to do yet (and neither do the majority of college students), I do know that one day I would like to maybe work with a non-profit. Once mentioning that I get another wave of negative comments, specifically about the fact that I won’t make much money doing that. I already know this. And here’s the thing: I am not really that concerned about the money. No, I won’t be a millionaire, but I will survive. I will have enough to live, is what I’m getting at here.
I feel as though whatever people, young people especially, decide to do, they are heavily judged for it. I find that no matter what young people decide to pursue, they still can't catch a break.
I just recently started a new job. One day at work I had to clean up in the back, sweep and mop. I started cleaning, and one of my managers came back and told me that I was not going fast enough. She told me, in a positive, encouraging tone of voice, that she was going to come back in ten minutes and I should be through cleaning a specific area.
This worked wonders on my work ethic. She didn’t yell at me because I didn’t know how fast I was supposed to be going. She didn’t make me feel stupid like most people do when they realize I don’t know something. She encouraged me and also showed me what I should be doing.
This is the way we need to start treating young people. If you put someone down enough and make them feel dumb, they are going to eventually want to stop trying. This is how I am, anyway.
Some people work in a way that when people discourage them, they want to try harder and put that person to shame. This is not how I operate and have noticed that many people my age don’t work like this either.
With this being said, next time you find yourself talking to someone younger than you, whether it be a college or high school student, a middle schooler, or even a young kid, watch what you say. Watch your tone of voice, and don’t put down what they are working hard at.
I know that the people who inspire me the most are the ones who tell me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Those kinds of people are the ones I remember and look forward to talking with again.
Young people are our future. Young people are our future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, athletes, secretaries, teachers, artists, writers, or even non-profit workers (in no specific order of importance, of course.) A young person you are talking to could grow up and somehow change the world.
I don’t think you’d ever want your words to be the cause of someone giving up, would you?