My Ambassador to Youth


I had no idea what was going on, who I was,  or what was expected of me. I ate fish and chips every day because they were cheap and I knew how to order them.  I approached my work with a cheery but deep-seated incompetence which baffled my superiors. I teetered on the edge of getting sacked but somehow managed to avoid that ignominy, through a mixture of politeness and some compassion from my boss.

It was only through discussion with my peers that I gradually gained some direction and a sense of myself. I won’t bother you with more of this because it is not the point of the post. I recall it because I have a sort of step- son who is now at a similar age  to the one I was in when these events were occurring. His situation is quite different to mine but has some similarities. I suffered from no attention and little understanding . He suffers from too much attention and not enough understanding. Neither of us has or had any idea what we wanted to do apart from a love of music and, in my case, an interest in girls which was resolutely unreciprocated. I hope his is more succesful.

Unlike me he is burdened with too much interest and expectation. I suffered from no interest but we both  backed away from the scrutiny of our adult relations whose interest can seem invasive and is  often discomfiting. Youth wants independence without the means to support it and that is its dilemma.

I had no advice but he has too much. Advice, in my opinion, is useful on short-term goals. “How  does this tin opener work. Would I get a better value holiday in Malta or Skegness and so on, but longer term is more difficult to provide.

We all give advice, and  to do so we often manage to overlook or disguise our own shortcomings . Inspiring people is a different matter. Moving them to face their own challenge in a fresh way without clichés marks the leader from manual reader. We are all lucky if we have someone like that in our lives. Instilling the confidence needed to cope with an uncertain future takes a level of skill and subtlety which many lack. I believe our confidence or lack of faith in someone is present in the smallest detail of our behaviour with them and will be subliminally received. Saying ” I believe in you” only counts if you really mean it. Giving fake encouragement always sours the moment. .  That is why the right thing to do is not always the easiest. With regard to this lad, here are my thoughts. I want the best for him and genuinely I believe in him. He is a very decent individual with integrity and natural, even impressive good manners. He does not boast and he has a new-found enthusiasm for judo but other than that he lacks direction.

He is not alone. There are those who know from an early age what they want to do in life: scientist, musician or  doctor but most people are not so lucky. What we have all learnt is that if you don’t choose and control your agenda something or someone else will. Interested parties gather round to proffer their advice and often export  anxieties but doing the right thing is harder.Besieged by advice  it is easy for the young to drift into a world of daydreams.

This lad is of essentially sound character and will answer most of the questions posed by life for himself.  What the adults in his life should offer is confidence and belief. The way we live our lives, and the values we demonstrate in doing so will influence or affect him more profoundly than anything we can say. I didn’t always know this but sometimes actions really do speak a thousand words.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, Environment, faith, life2, Relationships, skils and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to My Ambassador to Youth

  1. Ina says:

    Good posting; he will be fine 🙂

    Like

  2. maturestudenthanginginthere says:

    Oh I love this post. You could be speaking about my son. With your permission I would love to repost this on my blog. I think your understanding and compassion speaks volumes. 🙂

    Like

  3. maturestudenthanginginthere says:

    Reblogged this on maturestudenthanginginthere and commented:
    As you know I’m a Mum with no manual and so I was particularly taken with this post written by Counting Ducks. I think there is something in there for most of us with kids …….
    Thank you for agreeing to me sharing this Counting Ducks. Much appreciated 🙂

    Like

  4. Jane Thorne says:

    Love this post and found it thanks to maturestudenthanginginthere – thank you 😀

    Like

  5. backonmyown says:

    I read this post first on Jacqueline’s blog. I liked it enough to read it a second time on your site.

    You’re very wise now. It’s hard to imagine you as a clueless fish-and-chips kid. I agree with Ina–your boy will be fine.

    Like

  6. babs50nfab says:

    Peter I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I went through what you’re talking about with my oldest son. It took him quite a long time to find himself but I’m happy to say he has. There are no set guidelines, as we are all different in our approach to life, but I think your boy will be fine. He has a good example in you.
    b

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  7. Purely.. Kay says:

    I’ve definitely missed your post my friend :). And like another commenter said, I’m also still trying to figure out what I wanna do when I grow up. I love my life now but I feel this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. But I believe has a way of revealing itself when we look hard enough 🙂

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  8. Ducky,
    Even when you were eating fish & chips, I imagine you were pondering the wonders of the Universe.

    I have a strong feeling you are an AWESOME dad :)))) Xxx

    Like

  9. nelle says:

    So astute, and give a hearty second to your post. Perfect, through it all. I’ve fallen hard and know the feeling, yet I try to reach and help others. As an idealist and optimist, sometimes I don’t see where I need a bit of assistance. And… self-esteem is so critical, if nothing else we offer another, let this be where we offer assistance, not through contrived means, just by helping another understand and see their own positives.

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  10. Profound and beautifully written, Peter. You describe what so many of us parents go though as we watch our children grow up and off on their way (or not). I, too, reflected on how my experiences and attitudes compared to my son’s experiences and attitudes. But, in the end, I had to remember that we are two different people in two very different times. So, as you said, our role at this point is to support them and live our values as a model for them and others. Mostly, I had to learn to keep quiet!

    I don’t know how I made my way or what my mother thought of of choices; I imagine he’ll feel the same way–if he doesn’t already.

    Like

  11. “Youth wants independence without the means to support it” – Brilliant truism that I’m going to tuck away in my pocket for later.

    Your step-son is fortunate to have you sharing a small part in his journey x

    Like

  12. Caroline says:

    Sometimes having someone who will listen without being judgemental is all any of us needs. Actually saying to him “What ELSE do you think” can be immensely helpful. You can do this if he’s in the mood to talk. Just let him air his ideas and every time he runs out of things to say then just ask him what ELSE he thinks. This gives the brain the opportunity to add to the thoughts and ideas he’s already had.

    Deep inside him will be the answer!!

    My mother had a very sensible view on life. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do – go and find out what you don’t want to do as this then narrows down the options!!

    Like

  13. Lady E says:

    Funnily enough, this post does speak to me, even though I can’t say I’m truly young anymore, I still lack direction… Professionally, I still don’t know what it is I’d like to do “when I’m a grown up”. I wish your step son good luck, and he is lucky to have you in his life… 🙂

    Like

  14. Excellent post. By example not edict. Our ability to guide another should come out of what we respect and believe it, and from our passions. And from our knowing that there is much we don’t know. Your step-son sounds like a fine young man … and will find his own way, I’m sure. Daydreams can become reality, as long as they are supported – as you wrote – by caring ‘confidence and belief’.

    This statement especially resonated with me: ‘What we have all learnt is that if you don’t choose and control your agenda something or someone else will.’

    Like

  15. Actions do speak louder than words and now you have me daydreaming of a bag of fish n chips.

    Like

  16. Al says:

    I heard it said a long time ago that the best thing you can do for you child(ren) is to love their mother. That part was easy, but living the example you want to set is the great challenge.

    Like

  17. eof737 says:

    Actions say a lot more than words, and sometimes I wish I had more of the former in my youth… Beautiful post. 😉

    Like

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