You are taught to be respectful to your parents, your teachers and your bosses. Do not ever talk back or ask questions.
When does age inequality go from shaping and teaching young people, into something more serious?
For example; why should you condemn a child for swearing if you yourself swear in front of them? What about telling your kids they are never allowed to smoke when they are older whilst you are puffing on a cig? And of course, never ever hit someone, but if you are extra naughty you might get a slap.
How about when a young person isn’t taken seriously in the work place?
What about when a young person is violated for being naive- for simply not knowing that they should demand respect?
An example that comes to my mind of being disrespected as a child is when our year group was having an assembly. My eyes were down cast and I wasn’t listening to whoever was speaking up front. I wasn’t being rude or cheeky, I was simply dazing out of attention, as many ten-year-old’s do.
A male teacher demanded me to stand up in front of the year and then proceeded to scream at me in front of everyone. I was mortified and scared, and also confused to what I had even done.
If I had the mind I have today, I would have replied, ‘I am not yelling back at you, so why do you feel the need to yell at me? Could we not talk in private instead of humiliating me in front of 100 other children?’
Of course I didn’t say that as a ten-year-old, I simply cried then sat back down again. The same teacher accused one of the girls in our year of being a lesbian in front of everyone, which is obviously extremely inappropriate. But we were children, so how were we supposed to know we were being treated with double standards? Why do people turn a blind eye to teachers yelling at children yet children would be condemned for yelling at a teacher?
Children should always respect their teachers just as young people should respect their bosses, yet that respect needs to come back just as equally. Children should always be offered chances to explain their point of view and to vocalise their opinions. Children and young people need to be taught their their voice matters. Their story should never be drowned out by people who do not respect their opinion.
As a twentysomething, it is very important you receive and give out respect to everyone you meet. In a job environment, equality is very important. You may be forced to feel as if you haven’t deserved something because you are young. Your opinions might be sneered at because you have ‘less life experience.’ A lot of young people aren’t even given opportunities because of their age, and they feel as if they need to earn their place. Know your workplace rights if you feel you aren’t getting the right promotions or perks as other people with the same level experience as you are. Some older adults take advantage of young adults not having the right skills to deal with inequality. Stand up for what you believe in and go with your gut instinct if you feel you are being taken advantage of in any situation. You deserve everything an older adult is capable of getting.
As you make your way out into the big bad world as a young adult, people will take advantage. This comes in the form of a landlord for many people. Asking for an outrageous bond, not getting things fixed, and not getting your bond back are problems young adults face all the time. The sad reality is that sometimes they don’t know their rights, or they don’t know what action to take. Again, always know what you are entitled to, and make sure you respect every property you rent.
People will tell you that because you are young, you are naive, inconsiderate, or your ideas aren’t worth being spoken about because your voice won’t change the world. When I was a child, adults would laugh at my passions and ideas. I’ll always remember a time where I was having dinner at a family friends house and I was talking about climate change and melting ice. The family friend joked that he would love for his house to have a waterfront view, and everyone laughed. It’s cute and funny when a kid has passions right? But only when they are older, or more ‘educated’, will they be appreciated, or listened to.
Young people don’t run the world. Their lives are dictated by people older than them. Their parents control them, the government rules them, the education system confines them for 13 years (and then much longer if you ever want to get a ‘proper job’ ). They all think they have the better ideas, that they don’t need to be working alongside young people to develop ideas on how to raise young people, because they know best. It’s important to know that they don’t know best. YOU know what’s best for your own life, your own beliefs, what you stand for, and what you will do with this life.