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Cloe Shasha

Associate Programs Producer, TED Content, TED


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What does it take to make the youth take charge and feel responsible for their own initiatives?

TEDxYouthDay 2011 (www.tedxyouthday.com) is happening on the weekend around Universal Children's Day, from November 19 - 21.
Over 90 events are scheduled to happen on TEDxYouthDay, all of which are catered towards youth and many of which are organized by youth.
However, some adult organizers have had trouble finding young organizers to get involved in their events.
What are some ways we can reach out to our communities and empower youth with an opportunity to take charge and feel responsible?

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  • Sep 13 2011: In my opinion.... FREEDOM. I think a real key to taking initiative is being stuck into situations where no one else is there to initiate you. The idea that things don't just fix themselves should be engrained consistently in our youth's minds. The sooner independence is reached, the sooner that person is looking for ways to self-improve. I think we coddle our youth into thinking that only when they're ready will they have to take initiative and make a tough decision. This teaches that there is no real pressure or sense of urgency to change our world, when in reality a youthful perspective may be exactly what this world needs. Getting the youth to take initiative and rely on themselves more will hopefully provide this perspective and I think in order to do that, we must throw them into the fire so to speak. I am not promoting negligent parenting or lack of sympathy for a youth's problems, but a longer leash and less security to fall back on could force a lot of creative young people into forming their ideas around real, attainable goals.
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      Sep 13 2011: Hi Brandon,

      Totally agree with you. This is a great point. How do we give youth freedom, though, without letting them fall through the cracks?
      • Sep 13 2011: Definitely is a hard question. Falling through the cracks would mean negligent parenting and ignoring the sensitivity that is required to breed creativity and initiative. I think it requires a commitment from parents that we just don't have in the world today. We are too ready to hand our children over to schools and teachers that don't know them nearly as well as their parents. I think parents, in order to raise a responsible child that is willing to take lead on changing things, must be much more willing to deal with the child's issues that arise from having more freedom. We are so scared to see our children get in trouble or fail that we don't realize those are the moments they learn the most.

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