By: Bhavana Penmetsa, 11th grade
It’s no secret that many adults have the tendency to hastily dismiss the opinions of the youth of my generation; we’re constantly told that we need to pay more mind to global affairs and show more passion in our everyday lives. But when we do those very things, our views carry little weight simply because we’re “too young” to know anything about the world. The issues we deal with are often written off as ‘teenage hormones’ and our emotions and opinions are considered inconsequential. This is a big problem faced by American youth today and one that could leave lasting effects not only on our self-esteem, but on the future that is carried on our backs.
You’re probably thinking, talk about first world problems. But this blatant disregard of teenagers as people with actual issues, opinions and value to add to society is something that needs to be addressed. It’s harmful to think that all teenagers follow the image of the stereotypical lazy teen, especially when this is far from true. How can that be possible when college admissions and the job market are the most competitive they’ve ever been, when youth all across the world such as Malala Yousafzai are actively making a change, and millions more are taking to media such as the Internet to voice their stances on prominent social topics? By dismissing all teenagers as self-absorbed kids who are obsessed with their phones, adults are both missing out on and silencing the most important voices of the future. Something is clearly wrong with this picture; something needs to change.
It’s time for adults to stop saying we don’t care about the world, especially when most of us do; we’re the ones that are going to inherit it soon. It’s also time for us, as prospective leaders of our country, to step up our game and prove to the grown-ups that we have every right to an opinion just as they do. Don’t limit political discussions to lunchtime-talk with your peers: have intelligent conversations with adults as well. Make it clear that you care about more than just fashion and social media; maybe then our voices will finally be heard, loud, clear, and with true respect.