Kia ora Peter
Re youth and being part of the council: Yes, agree and I kind of wonder whether having a youth council separate from the PNCC, is like tokenism, which the council seem best at. Why are they scared of youth? I think it’s more that they don’t like to let anyone in and keep themselves very separate, look at their fear of the Maori ward. I wonder why that is, and generally my only conclusion when this happens is that it centres on power and control, which shouldn’t occur with democratically elected position holders. But alas, it does in all arenas! This needs addressing.
Suicide; absolutely suicide is a lot to do with social condition and the society youth live in. I don’t have any hard data, but my awareness of youth mental health, is that largely youth are unsupported and this initially and sadly is within their own whanau and then extending out. Youth is also generally pathologised as is the adolescent period seen through a deficit model. Yet youth (or young adults) as I prefer to call them, have the same milestones to struggle through as always, and every generation has its new challenges, different from the last. I don’t buy into that it is harder for youth these days, because of the times we live in. In fact, think about it, it is in fact easier. The times we live in have always evolved and always will. Thank god. That is called progress. We should be empowering our youth to believe that they are the experts in their lives, they know their environment, technology, peers, struggles and successes better than us old folks and they have more opportunity to do more than past generations did. We should let them bask in that knowledge – despite, who we think we are, what we have studied or even how cool we are, we will never fully understand the youth culture of today. All youths are fantastic, I think the problem generally lies with the adults in their lives who have missed offering them positive opportunities to their right of passage to adulthood and often these adults lack the skills to know how to listen to their issues, when there have been concerns.
Youths are still prescribed remedies for their behaviour and are addressed from a top down model of superiority that comes from us being deemed as “adults” which is quite amusing, because some of those adults who do that, really have no idea what they are talking about. The other thing that occurs with youths is that they can be “scripted” as being unwell or disruptive or even “just a teenager” and therefore they play this script out. If you are told often enough, that you are an issue, then that is the role you are given and the stage is set, and the script is given to you from adults, so you play the role. However if you empowered youth and encouraged them, and spoke of their possibilities and their capabilities, then that too is the role they play. I do this with my teenagers; proof is in the pudding they say.
People generally need to remember that young adults are going through the bridge of adolescence, and along the way they are trying to form their identity. The adult’s role is to give them safe rights of passage, as the passage will be taken safely or unsafely in any case.
Another passion of mine: Maori. Your thoughts on Jerry Mateparae, as our new GG are Interesting; and I agree, the defence personnel are trained to follow orders (I lived with a defence person for 5 years, which didn’t work out, as I encouraged self governance and he had no idea how to do this!!!) Anyway the PM selects our GG in order for that person to follow orders. Let’s hope though that having a Maori GG gives a voice to Maoridom, will it mean any changes? Possibly not! Will he be able to make any new initiatives? Possibly not! However he is in a powerful position of influence. Also being Maori it shows Mana for Maori to have someone like Jerry as GG. I grasp for straws sometimes for Maori, but I am always hopeful. As my 8 year old boy said to me last night when he was reading to me; “Mum, my teacher asked us the other day when we were discussing this book...what would happen if we didn’t have hope”. And he said he replied to her “possibly, our world would be full of misery!” Ka pai Adam...
Love reading your newsletters Peter, keep on keeping on. Promise I won’t reply such lengthy feedback in future, but sometimes things provoke thoughts… D.T