Comment 38508

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 28, 2010 at 18:54:38

I agree with Meredith here. It isn't just about kids having something to do, it's about kids being able do things - and that means being able to run them, not just show up and follow rules.

A father used to be able to go shooting with his son (or daughter), and that made sense when you were more scared that he might get ambushed by a cougar than that he might join a gang. Nowadays kids can't use many power tools at their high-school co-ops, and most big named karate clubs won't even let students spar for insurance reasons. We've torn out more playgrounds than we can count over the last decade because they were unsafe, virtually no urban space is free of "no skateboarding or ball-playing" signs because of liability reasons. Kids remain kids now longer than ever these days, but we won't let them do any of the things we used to.

Political action can be an amazing opportunity for young people - I did it all too - but it's important that they're involved and not just tokens. If there's one thing everyone wanted it was some "youth" to show off (political parties always had beer for us), but only about one in ten of them was willing to actually listen to what we had to say (though those who did have been friends since). Though the NDP youth were a truly swingin' group of folks, the central party caucus was notorious for over-ruling us and even at one point replaced our representative with a man in his 40s.

Treat youth like adults and they'll act like adults. Treat adults like children, and they'll act like children.

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