OpEd, Politics

Truth, I discovered about ourselves as youth, not the gov’t

By Ustaz Mark Bang


We have to check in on ourselves properly before talking bitterly at the government, yes! One may utter anything, but not to the extent that she or he never points out his or her weaknesses.

I sometimes view it myself and look at the situation we youth are in. A situation where there are individuals who are energetic to work on a casual basis, yet few are doing so; a situation where one stays in bed 24/7 and hopes to get free food; a situation where youth go on theft, robbery, and beyond, causing chaos to their societies, and later claim the government provides security, and I have to declare it a big lie. Going further, when it comes to the rainy season, many are carrying on agricultural activities. This time, many pretend to be sick, while others prepare to go for studies when there are no schools admitting learners any longer. They then stay in towns, living a life of pickpocketing, scamming, exploitation, and banditry, amongst others. I once encountered young boys conspiring for ways of handling living in towns.

However, the youth did take drugs. There are lots and lots of drugs. They drank, partied, tripped, and did whatever they could to forget the hatred they had for themselves. They cheated and talked against people, as that was the cause of their failure in life. They sometimes go and stay in the houses of the people they call relatives and no sooner than later steal their money, properties, and other valuable resources.

Our youth have been so crazy in their laziness. Laziness is our prime enemy and the devil, preventing every individual from getting an opportunity. In redefining laziness, as it is known by everybody, it is a lack of self-esteem, a lack of positive recognition by others, a lack of discipline stemming from low self-confidence, a lack of interest, or a lack of belief in its efficacy.

Now, in overcoming laziness in ourselves, we leave the nation and its incumbent leadership alone. One has to find her or his motivation. The first step to conquering laziness is to (a) figure out what motivates you; (b) give yourself breaks; (c) avoid distraction; (d) set reasoned goals; and (e) create accountability. Laziness can have effects on physical and mental health challenges like depression and anxiety. Change your mind; change your life.

Young people these days don’t understand what hard work is; they are so lazy; maybe if they got off their phones and laptops, they would be more productive; and so many other similar phrases get hurled at me and others in my age group. However, whenever I talk to my friends, think about social media influencers in my age group, and reflect on my own life, the majority of 2025-year-olds I know seem to be constantly working and finding new ways to grow their skills.

There are so many examples of this. My friend is working on her Photoshop and web design skills during quarantine so she can have a more extensive portfolio to share with employers. Influencers I watch are expanding their brands and starting podcasts to diversify their income streams. I am learning new skills like carpentry and painting because these are activities that I find personally fulfilling. Honestly, I can easily list at least five other friends and what they have been doing lately to improve themselves, either professionally or personally. However, our age group often gets deemed lazy and unmotivated. I have always found these claims confusing, as everyone I know seems to struggle with burnout and hustle culture. Especially when I lived on campus during my college years, I found myself always worrying that I was not doing enough. Even though I was involved in so many activities and busy from morning until night, whenever I had free time, I wondered if I should be doing more. This is a feeling that I and many of my friends struggle with, yet everyone continues to spread themselves too thin in order to keep up their productivity.

This quarantine which could have served as a much-needed rest for many has turned into a productivity competition. What books have you read? How many times a week do you exercise? What skills have you sharpened? Perhaps it’s our need to post everything we accomplish on social media that makes us think we can’t take a break. We compare ourselves to our peers and get frustrated when we believe that we are not working as hard or as much as others.

Some older people comment on how we are on our phones and laptops, which is a reason they believe we are lazy. However, social media is necessary these days. When building a brand and reaching target audiences, companies and businesses cannot thrive without well-curated, aesthetic online presences. So, as we brand ourselves, our social media pages need to demonstrate that we know how to engage followers and create a cohesive theme. I don’t think these skills make us lazy just because they are different from physical labor. Online skills take time to develop and master, and working on creative endeavours can be draining. Additionally, because we work on laptops, we find it almost impossible to detach from work because our entertainment and work are on the same device. Although we may use different tools to accomplish our professional and personal goals, our generation should not be dismissed as lazy and undisciplined. The goods and services state and local governments provide are largely determined by the needs and priorities of the communities they serve. Funding for these programs is transferred from the federal level to the state or municipal level, depending on which jurisdiction administers the services.

For many residents, it isn’t clear what goods and services their local government provides. This information is vital to the community because it not only lets them know what programs are available but also creates transparency into who is responsible for maintaining and improving essential public services and infrastructure.

To clarify the sometimes-murky world of local government expenditures, we put together a list of the most common goods, services, and programs most local governments provide their communities: hospitals and healthcare, public welfare housing, community development, elementary and secondary higher education, and highways and roads.

Expenditures in this category include public and community health programs, government-owned hospitals, government payments for private hospitals, and some Medicaid spending. Most Medicaid spending falls into this category. It also includes cash assistance through programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Security Income.

This category includes public housing and rental assistance, homeownership programs, and expenditures for the construction, operation, and support of housing, redevelopment, and revitalization projects.

Expenditures in this category include not only the operation, maintenance, and construction of public schools but also spending on programs provided through the school system. A few examples are libraries, school lunches, pre-kindergarten programs, technical-vocational training, and guidance counseling. Local government budgets separate higher education spending from elementary and secondary education. Higher education expenditures comprise the construction, operation, and maintenance of public community colleges and universities, including law and medical schools.

This category includes the construction, operation, and maintenance of streets, roads, sidewalks, bridges, standard highways, toll roads, and other road-related structures. Conclusively, youth need to understand these things: avoid telling yourself you should do this and that; avoid complicating things; don’t think of tasks as hard; stop trying to do too many things at a time; do things in the first place; and finally, avoid expectations that can defy time.

The writer of this article is a human rights activist, writer, and professional teacher.

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