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The future leaders of the world. Sounds familiar? Well of course. These are the words we read when we were kids. But eventually, reality struck when we started to grow up. When we found out that the world doesn’t exactly treat us as its future leaders. “Ignorant”, “Arrogant”, “Self-centered”, “Useless” – these sum up the 21st century teenage stereotype. I’m not saying that teenagers like these don’t exist. They do exist. But there is no reason of judging a whole generation by its minority. Because there are teens out there wanting to make a difference; to create a better future; a better world.

As it is easier for people to focus on the self centered, reckless teens, the rest of us just get overlooked. The rest of us, who care about making a difference; who are willing to stand up for a cause; but always get ignored and are labeled as “just another ignorant kid”. We often notice hateful and abusive comments on Facebook. Almost all of them come from fully grown adult users. Not from the so called arrogant and ignorant teenagers. So who’s the narrow-minded one here? I’m not saying that every adult out there have the same mentality. But the same goes for us too. Every teen doesn’t have the same mentality either. When the “concerned” society talks about us, they miss one very simple yet vital point – the time has changed. The competition today is greater by many folds. We have to work harder than ever to achieve anything. Yet many of the teens have accomplished more than their previous generation would even think of at their times.

You hand Malala Yousafzai a Nobel prize and then turn around to discuss how the new generation is a burden to the society. Malala is just a proof that there are teenagers who are more aware than some adults out there. They don’t take this world as a fairy tale anymore. Also, by nature teens have a unique perspective on everything. They also manage to find a creative solution to every problem they face. To make it easier, just take a look at the ones who participate in science fairs, debates, MUNs etc. All these reflect their positive point of view and also high ambitions to create a better future.

The society tagged us as the future leaders. But how can the leaders be made if they aren’t given a chance to learn? How are we even supposed to develop as a generation if our opinions are suppressed every now and then? Every teen out there wants to make a difference. But how can we when we’re not taught how to or simply been told that it’s not our cup of tea? If we are to be the future leaders, then the adults need to be our guide, not our obstacle. Instead of belittling our opinions, we need to be taught to respect opinions. Because when we combine the experience of adults with the ambition of teens, what follows is a better future, a better world.

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