"How can we channel the energy of the rebellious youth?"September 12th, 2011
Without condoning the riots that hit London last month, should we perhaps take a step back and question why all these people were protesting? Was it bad parenting or a tipping point that was reached, asks Commonwealth Correspondent Eva Maria, 21, from New Zealand?
Last month’s riots in London, and elsewhere across England, caused a lot of controversy and garned attention around the world.
I have never been to London, but having close friends from there, it is something that has sparked my own interest. For many it was the over-televised proof of what happens when people go wild. In New Zealand’s case, the newspapers focused mainly on the fact that the riots were caused by youth.
England is no stranger to horrific ‘when youth go wild’ stories, but from some of the (maybe biased) news I’ve seen and heard, here are some of my own thoughts about how something as tragic as this has happened.
There comes a time when people have simply had enough. Having seen how professionals working in their office cubicles can reach a tipping point, when they go as far as a bloody fight in what can only be described as a very rigid and calm environment, I am not surprised that there came a time when people tried to rebel.
I am not condoning actions of the looters, or the rebels, but come on – people only need to see the violence. As for what happened in London, I would go so far as to say that there were people who had reached their tipping point. Unfortunately, though, it had been against the police and peaceful citizens who owned businesses.
Speculation from the BBC quickly started focusing on how it was that many youths had joined in to be ‘rebels without a cause’. It was suggested that it came down to bad parenting. I haven’t personally met these so called ‘bad parents’, but perhaps it’s worth exploring: who are the parents of these looters and hooligans? No parent ever wants to raise their kids ‘the wrong way’, yet some get sucked into drugs, crime and hate.
So where do the kids of these parents go wrong? I am not religious, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that even books like the Bible teach those who will listen to not steal, kill, or disrespect their elders. So why do some take such extreme actions when they reach their own tipping point?
Rebels Without a Cause
There are many who idolize the likes of Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi. I remember at high school during one assembly, we were challenged with an interesting question: if you wanted to make a big impact in the world we live in, would you break the law?
All three of these leaders all broke the law in some way to fight – whether aggressively or passively – for something they believed would produce a better world for all. Che Guevara used to go around with his gang in his school days and break street lamps as a sign of rebellion against the world they were living in.
The likes of the Sex Pistols used the music scene to voice all that was wrong with the world. Was Martin Luther King Jr in the wrong to fight for his rights in a world where he was considered an insignificant citizen? Without condoning the actions of what has recently hit London, should we perhaps be taking a step back and recognizing, or questioning, what all these people are protesting against?
If many of them are youths, is it not a good thing that all have found a way to band together to fight for a cause? I guess in my mind the question still remains: was this a cause? With all my research, this to me is yet another example of how quickly people can pull together for a common message.
The challenge, though, still remains in my mind: how can we take this energy among people, and more importantly the ‘rebellious youth’ and gear it towards more positive action?
What do you think?
“I am a 21-year-old family coach, international speaker, social media expert and author of the bestselling parenting book ‘You Shut Up!’ Though Russian-born, I currently live in New Zealand, and today work with various groups, businesses and families.
“I am on a full-on mission to help improve 10,000,000 adult-youth relationships around the world.”
Read another of my articles here:
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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