The Importance of Writing as a form of Youth Participation
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step"-Lao Tsu.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”-Lao Tsu.
This simple Chinese proverb relates to a lot of things, from a physical journey to a metaphorical journey, we are all on a journey. Writing too is a journey.
Perhaps the most pivotal aspect of our journey is the beginning. There must be a beginning to everything. To examine the world of youth participation and engagement we must examine the beginning. That does not mean to delve into a history book but to look at the present.
In today’s world, youth participation is critical. Youth are the force for change. Oftentimes we ask the questions “how do I get involved?” or “how can I create change?” A simple way to create this change is to write. To write means to think and to think means to engage. This simple concept can be the turning point for a number of youth.
In July of last year, I travelled to the country known as the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi with Concern Worldwide. From Dublin to Addis Ababa and finally Lilongwe, I documented my thoughts. Throughout the entire journey I documented the people we met, the places we saw and my reflections. All these were encapsulated in one small journal. It was not essential to keep this journal but it became the foundation. The foundation for change. Upon reflecting on the trip, I returned to my journal, to revive the memories from that one week. That one week that changed my whole perspective on the society we live in.
A simple page with as little as one word written on it has the power to create change. It can inspire an idea and from that idea, a concept can be generated. This is where youth participation links in, to write is engagement, but to react on writings is participation. A simple pen and paper have the power to change the world. A simple pen and paper in the hands of youth have even greater power. Writing is a key aspect of youth participation, it forms the beginning of many great journeys.
The benefits of writing and youth participation are endless, from the personal gain to the effect it can have on others. From being an active youth participant you can create strong bonds with like-minded people. You can also engage with opinions opposite to your own. In a world where youth participation thrives and the upcoming generation reflects on the past and plans for the future, it is a fantastic idea to write. It does not have to be a work of art, it can have grammar mistakes, but as long as it reflects on you, your thoughts and your ideas, it is participation.
It is by youth for youth.