Mentoring youth is a relatively new phenomenon. The youth of today aren’t like the youth of 20 to 30 years ago. In that time there was a different work ethic and a different culture. With today’s modern technology youth are much more likely to want to sit in front of a computer or video game system than they are to want to go out and help their peers, family and neighbors.
Modern technology has all but wiped out the desire for children to go outside and play in the yard or build a tree house. Children of today are much more likely to want to sit down in front of a computer than they are to want to interact with others in person. For some, this is due to shyness but for many others it’s simply a matter of convenience. It’s more convenient to log onto a social network and see what peers are doing than it is to simply walk across the street and find out in person.
With more and more families needing both parents to work in order to make ends meet, youth have often been left alone to their own devices. These “devices” don’t only consist of computers and video games, but also the fact that youth don’t have the same responsibilities that they did 20-30 years ago. These youth aren’t being held responsible to take over household tasks of working parents and they seem to have a sense of entitlement in lieu of a strong work ethic. It’s the rare youth that will go out and get a part time job and offer to help mom and dad with the bills.
With less and less supervision youth often fall through the cracks of society and the no child left behind law is ignored in some smaller rural areas where youth are sneaking out to the big city to see what life really has to offer. Most of them slink back but not without having learned some valuable lessons. Unfortunately, these lessons often come with a price that is steep. Sometimes these lessons include children and the need for the youth to now support not only themselves, but also a child while still trying to balance a job and an education.
Youth that stay in school aren’t as commonplace today as they were in yesteryear. Staying in school often means spending less time on electronics and more time hitting the books. Some youth learn early on that this is a valuable asset to their lives, unfortunately many don’t learn this in a timely fashion.
In short, 20 to 30 years ago our youth had more responsibility, fewer electronic devices and more freedom than the youth of today have. There was less need for youth mentoring and lives were much less complicated and more simple.