For the past 11 years, our youth have been known as merely students to our school system. We have sat through lessons, participated in class discussions, produced endless projects and papers for our teachers. Although it seems as if school has covered every topic imaginable, there exists a commonly overlooked and underrated aspect of education; leadership. Being spoon-fed answers to textbook questions and succumbing to everything we hear as the so-called truth has given our generation the impression that the answers to our problems lie in front of us. And in a time when students have no command, being a leader relies on the uniqueness of every individual opinion; defined as a person or group that can command a population.
Starting with small ideas, beliefs and core values, our generation has risen amongst and beyond others and seen at the forefront of many major movements. A 19 year old female tennis star who waited five years for her moment with a signed poster to her parents, making history in every aspect of the sport. Bianca Andreescu, Generation X. A small belief becoming echoed through one of the world’s most pressing leadership to defy their countries beliefs, rallying one million people week after week. The Hong Kong protests, Generation X. A young girl who started Friday protests alone for months because she believed so strongly in the need for public awareness, ignored and set aside by citizens who has now become one of the most recognized figures of climate change. Greta Thunberg, Generation X. Such notable people like these became who they are and the people they are known as from small actions and ideas. They never had a relatable example to look up to, driving them to take action in their own way and using their success as a medium to advocate and vocalize the importance of young people as leaders.
Growing up amidst pressing economic, social and environmental conflicts today’s youth have been forced to defy the persisting stereotypes around “reckless”, “lazy”, “uninterested” teens and think critically. Staying silent is dangerous for us as a population and for our future. Forming strong beliefs, bringing people together and working for the greater good can not only connect us as a people, but make for well-rounded individuals. We can no longer be told what to think by people of power and will no longer wait for others to understand what we know is a fact. And when it comes to issues like equity and global warming, no book, resource or website will ever have the answer to our problems. History has shown time and time again that it is up to us to find it.