As our young people travel throughout their school years, they are supposedly ‘taught’ many subjects, skills leading to lasting careers and also many lifelong ‘trends’ which sometimes in my opinion, are not always for the best result.
By this I mean that many subjects which are learned during school years may make a lasting impression on the complete course of their lives.
For instance, decisions on contraceptives are encouraged at a most early age, I think sometimes before their appropriate age of understanding.
It was once recommended that if students had not had sexual relations by the age of 13 years, then there was something seriously wrong with them maybe.
This, therefore, contributes to many an underage pregnancy with future responsibilities thrust on them before complete maturity.
Then another subject to debate is the severe problem of alcohol.
I really believe that the permissible age of 18 for alcohol consumption is not in accordance with the maturity of our youth which really does not come into vogue until at least 21 years, by which time the youngster has then completed their secondary education and made the huge decision from the choices available, for their career choice.
Many 18-year-olds today are ‘champing at the bit’ for their party to enable them to visit the night spots “for a drink”.
How often do we witness the awful truths of many a fatality on our roads as a result of this behaviour?
I would suggest that if the age of consent were raised to at least 21 years, then many accidents could be averted as statistics tell us that most young alcohol-involved fatalities occur before the age of 24 years, not including the disastrous effect that alcohol has on our bodies.
Proven statistics reveal dire consequences to our health, again the lesser problem of cost for this unnecessary vice.
Let’s encourage more wholesome pastimes for our young people.
As smoking has decreased for the betterment of the community as a whole with the present program, a similar program could be established regarding alcohol.
I might say here that maybe our sports stars could find another substitute, providing a kinder way to celebrate victory instead of the mistaken appearance that one must have alcohol in order to celebrate.
All of our youth are most susceptible to peer group pressure and there a huge amount of that out there.
All want to “copy” the popular (or noisiest) leader in the group.
Whether it is wearing the most daring apparel or make-up, playing the most daring attempts at behavioural pranks or whatever, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone is always there to beat the last attempt.
The government authorities are forever claiming to seek favourable results for this serious alcohol problem, but from where I stand I liken the problem to raising children.
Sometimes they need correcting in order to ultimately save themselves from destruction.
Naturally there are those circumstances that will always cause the rebels to stand up like tall poppies, but in the long run, what is going to be the ultimate future if this problem is not curbed?
What about the next generation; where are they headed?
We need to help our youth in spite of themselves.
Let us help them while there is yet time.
Raise the age of consent and let them grow up to adulthood before the responsibilities set in, because there is no going back.
Might I say here that I personally was a 14-year-old school leaver in year nine, 1946.
I never did enjoy school, always knew what I would choose as a career (which I followed faithfully) and had absolutely no regrets ever.
Also, I received my driving licence at 18, but roads, car prices and traffic conditions have changed dramatically since that time.
Also, the population has increased dramatically with intake migration.
Somehow today’s youngsters do not seem to be able to gain the same opportunities as seemed to come my way, but I can only say that we each need to do things ‘my way’.