River Wissey Lovell Fuller


November 2005

Les reverts to his previous comments about the youth of today

My two previous articles, "A Second Coming" and the subsequent, "Village Life" were somewhat complimentary with an emphasis on our young people, and I make no apology for returning to this theme. Our young people are our future and if we value our future then indeed we must value our young people, the question is, do we?

When I see a teenager today I see myself some 60 years ago, apart from one difference, I left school at 13. Today's teenagers leave at 16, well the majority do and it is those whom I have a certain empathy with.

The reality is that the minority who continue their education almost certainly will seek their fame and fortune outside our area. That said, their contribution to our village life will be nil. We are left therefore with the majority, 99% of whom will spend their working days engaged in mainly manual work, just as I did as a teenager, hence my empathy with them.

I would like to think that today's teenagers live in a much better world than I did but do they? Where is the evidence of any "progress" having been made?

Today we brand our teenagers, or at least some, as interested only in Sex, Vandalism, and Drugs, well would I be any different if tomorrow morning I woke up as a 16 year old? I doubt it, just what would my pastimes be? We mustn't delude ourselves that I would in my spare time be interested in very much, and here we get to the centre of our problems.

My thinking is that you don't wake up tomorrow morning determined to be interested in any sport, or any desire to play a musical instrument, wanting to start going to church or chapel on a Sunday, and so forth, all of that just doesn't happen. It's essential here to remember we are talking of your average teenager, and let's face it no one is more average than I am either then or now.

Our young people need encouragement, inspiration, and yes, leadership, which they have never had and are still not getting, on that basis they are being let down. In my day the chances of becoming a modern day David Beckham, Freddie Flintoff, Tim Henman or Steve Davis, and that's only mentioning sport, were nil. 60 years on nothing has changed, but it doesn't have to be that way

I read the article in last months Village Pump, by Gordon Mitcheson-Smith about Gooderstone Cricket Club and how excited I became when I saw that his Club were restarting their Colts side with training sessions by a qualified coach, and not just for young boys, but yes, young girls as well. For this programme to be successful it will require the working together of not just the young but the not so young as well, full marks to Gooderstone.

This "Gooderstone Formula" can be applied not just to any other sport but to local politics, churches, chapels, you name it, and as I have repeatedly said, if you want someone to take an interest in you then you had better start taking an interest in them.

Les Lawrence

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