Youth is not wasted on the young

What are the best things about being the age you are now?


“Youth is Wasted on the Young”

This is a quote attributed to playwright George Bernard Shaw.  It implies that young people have energy and endless possibility, the world is new and ideas are exciting and interesting but they don’t notice, they squander it all and only when they are older do they look back and understand that waste. What a grumpy, short-sighted view, and how patronising to young people! This activity is all about celebrating being the age you are now, capturing how you see the world and what you want to do in it because youth is NOT wasted on the young!

Celebrating your age now

Childhood feels like forever when you are young, but it can pass very quickly. Suddenly it’s time to start primary, then secondary school. You may find you have a younger sibling you now have to help look after; you may have homework you need to concentrate on; or chores around the house to help out with. Before you know it you are growing up, and leaving your childhood behind.

What are the best things about being your age? What are the feelings, the experiences, the ways of seeing the world that you have now and you never want to forget? How has your life improved in the last three years? How has is got harder? What age has been your favourite to be so far? What age are you looking forward to being?

Using a large strip of paper, draw around yourself to make the outline of a young person. Inside the outline draw on facial features and clothes for the body. Around the outside of the outline draw pictures and write words to represent all the best things about being young.

Think about how your life is different to your parents’ lives, or other older people that you know. Do you have different responsibilities? Stresses? Money? Time? Work?

Take it further

Use the drawing to think about children who might not benefit from all these advantages – or advantages other children may have that you do not. Think about what situations or responsibilities might stop a young person from really enjoying being young –  for example child soldiers, young carers, street children, child labourers etc. You could try the activity Hands Up For Our Rights and find out more about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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