Monday, January 17, 2022
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The box we have been made to think In.

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It is ironic how we’re challenged again and again to think outside the box, to reason for ourselves, to come up with new ideas that challenge the status quo, and then when we dare to even step outside the confines of this box, we are kicked right back in by society.

As youth of this developing nation, we ought to have a stake when it comes to decision making; we have a responsibility in nation-building.

How can we do this when we cannot challenge ideas in society without being tagged as disrespectful and rude? Don’t get me wrong— I am not in favour of disrespecting authorities— but I think it is quite clear when someone is being intentionally disrespectful.

How do we say what is on our minds when we are deprived of our say on important matters because of age?

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Recently, I came upon a screenshot trending on the stories and status updates of university students. A student had challenged his lecturer. Apparently, the class wanted to find out if the lecture which had been scheduled for that day would take place.

The question was justified because it is common for lecturers to cancel scheduled lectures.
The lecturer, in response to the question, said that it was the duty of students to attend lectures, whether or not the lecturer would be present. He wanted them to accept that with no questions asked.

However, one student was brave and disagreed with him with all due respect and got into trouble because apparently, he had disrespected the lecturer. That’s the problem.

crying african student in america

This is just one example out of the many challenges that the youth face every day, and society is responsible for this. There are too many rules that glorify the old and diminish the young.

For one thing, the adult is always right. Superficially, it’s just that and it’s nothing serious (at least that’s what they say) but take a closer look and it’s devastating, killing us off slowly.

We’re losing our confidence: the confidence to speak our brilliant minds, the confidence to be innovative, the confidence to have thoughts of our own, and the confidence to be open-minded. Everyone should have their opinion, regardless of what it is. 

Everyone must be given the opportunity to express these opinions. We must have the opportunity to say, “No, I don’t agree,” and not be tagged as disrespectful.

i have a voice

We should be able to say, “I think this is right,” and not be called too-knowing or ‘book-long. Otherwise, where will that billion-dollar business idea company come from? Who will make that beautiful architectural design? How about that brilliant scientific discovery?

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie wrote in her article titled It is Obscene: A True Reflection in Three PartsAnd so we have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and to learn and to grow. There has never been a truer statement.

This is where we are. Those who ought to be generational thinkers and future leaders, cannot form their own ideas and opinions because they are afraid of being wrong. If we are indeed the future leaders, I fear there is no better future. 

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This is the crushing blow that society is dealing itself.
Let us out of the box. Give us the wings to fly and traverse unchartered waters. Break this version of repression that has shackled our mental faculties.

When Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said that our beloved country was free forever, it just didn’t mean that we were free from colonial rule. It also meant that we were free to be original, free to be innovative, and free to have an opinion and voice it. Let us let us… this is a cry.

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