I believe people take youth for granted. I believe there are so many youth out there going through hard things that most people will never understand, even if they once went through it themselves. The mind of an adolescent is full of things that most adults once knew inside also, but have now forgotten. Like an infant that cries when it has a need that must be fulfilled, the adolescent mind will long for some form of fulfilment. The problem is- the needs of these kids are most often times not met. Many teenagers have creativity inside their heads, a passion, a love, which many adults have succeeded in repressing upon their entry into the adult world in order to fit into modern-day society.
I believe what most people forget is that adolescents do not “rebel” because they are failures at becoming adults and “growing up”. Most teenagers have passions and fire in their soul that they do not know how to positively express. It is an internal power with a great lack of “language” to speak about their power. They are not some sort of failure at being “normal”, in fact, most “street kids” have more active and creative imaginations than the average person. They choose to not participate in the corporate warfare that is most people’s normal lives because they do not see it fit. They see a better way of life.
The fact is- many of these youth do not get to engage their imaginations in positive and essential life work because many street kids don’t have good home lives. They lack the stones at the bottom necessary to climb their way up. Many of them lack financial or educational resources to give them the essential “language” they need to proceed and be successful in their visions. Most are constantly reminded of their misbehaviour, their amoralism, their failure, their inability to fit in, and their unlikelihood to be successful.
In all my years of struggles as a youth the thing that really pushed me forward was a small few who believed in me, that gave me the little ounce of courage I needed to see my vision as a reality. All the “direction” and “discipline” in the world could not have changed me, but would only result in alienating and estranging me from society further. What I needed was time. I needed time to accept myself as who I was as a member of society. Not a failure member at this kind of society, but a potential member of a better society; a society which I could not only be a part of, but that I could help create, build, and fight for.
There will always be street kids because there will always be creative minds that refuse to conform to something they see as unfit, and there will always be people there to suppress them. The great part about this is realising that there are creative minds out there who are simply being stunted by labels and inequalities in society. My breakthrough really occurred over a period of time I spent discovering myself after high school. I realised that I didn’t want to be a social worker because I wanted to “help people”. These people are not sick and they do not need to be cured. Most of these kids will deal with people their whole lives who only want them to “get better” so they can once again become economic participants in our capitalist society. When really, what these kids really need is get the resources they need to get back on their feet so they can unleash to the world what is in their notebooks.
It has taken me a long time to get to this place of self- assurity. I no longer get down on myself for being different from most people. In fact, I thank my lucky stars for it. What I have realised is that I have a voice. I have experience. I have ideas. After enduring many hardships in adolescence, I have gotten myself to the point where I have freed myself from society trying to clip my wings by telling me I wasn’t normal because I wasn’t like most people. Something I once saw as my biggest flaw has now become my greatest source of inner power.
I never saw myself in university, EVER. But here I am. I love what I am learning about. Every day I am so grateful for my journey and the people who have helped me along the way. I feel like of all my crazy thoughts and emotions, my education is what will give me the “language” for the things I need to do. My education will provide the backbone for the body of ideas in me that is slowly getting stronger.
I would just like to close with a thought. Street kids are not street kids. They are not social inadequates. They are not bums. They are not lazy junkies. They are humans. Not only that- but they are humans with big brilliant brains that most of us cannot understand. They do not need a magical emotional prescription that will return them to normality. They need resources. They need homes. They need support. They need their health. They need love. They need people to stop trying to put them into boxes. They need these things so that they can enter the world at their strongest and most vibrant so they can inspire the rest of us to make some serious change. We need them crazy and wonderful, just as they are.