“Everyone has the right to express their opinion…”
With all the different issues our world is currently facing, it is inevitable that everyone has their own opinion. But only few has the courage to express it; Or maybe some are just afraid to voice them out. Like us, teenagers.
I conducted a simple interview with my fellow teenagers and asked them possible reasons why some of us are afraid to voice out our opinions. And here’s what we/ they say:
1. “We are afraid of criticisms.”
We all know that expression of opinion comes with criticism. It is inevitable that some teenagers are afraid of these because they tend to have vulnerable hearts. Or maybe some of us are afraid of judgment. I, myself, have tried to voice out my opinion and had regrets after doing it. After I confidently posted my thought about a certain issue, I received comments and I started to feel bashful. We all understand that some criticisms may be constructive or destructive, but regardless of how it is delivered, we can still be afraid because we’re just starting to learn how to accept it.
But let me tell you that criticisms are actually good. Some of them helps us to grow and learn something. As the saying goes, “If you’re not open to criticism, then you’re not open to truly growing as a person.”
2. “We are told to shut up.”
Truth be told, this is one of the reasons why.
Some adults view teenagers’ opinions worthless. We do understand that we are too young to think that we could actually change the world. But we know all too well that being young doesn’t restrict us to have an opinion about a certain issue. We also have the right to be heard and our opinions to be valued.
Some teenagers don’t share their thoughts because of the fear of rejection. We are told at school to never be afraid of voicing out our opinions, but we are never warned that we could be bashed by doing so. They degrade us, teenagers, thinking that we were just born yesterday, and oblivious to the “real world.” We’re belittled and told to grow up but stops us from speaking our thoughts, which is how we could grow.
To (some) adults,
We are teenagers, not “just teenagers”. Do you understand? Please don’t limit us from voicing out our opinions. Wasn’t there a time when you were like us? When you were only like us, wanting a voice too? Hoping we could freely suggest about a certain issue?
I know some of us are being careless, irresponsible, and impolite about making opinions. And I know that some adults are reading this thinking that not all are dismissive of teens. I’m not saying these just because i’m also a teenager. There are some adults who support teens, I understand, however, it goes the same for us. You cannot put all flowers on the same pot. Meaning, we are different from each other. Not all teenagers are “careless”, “irresponsible”, and “worthless.” Some of us may be insane but that doesn’t mean that teenagers that actually care like us don’t exist. We do care about these issues, especially we are the next ones to inherit the responsibilities of the future. So please, let us care.
3. “We are not confident enough.”
“All reluctance is a lack of confidence.”
Some teenagers are reluctant to speak out their opinions because they are not confident enough of what they’re saying. They are afraid to commit mistakes about what they’re stating. They aren’t very sure of their opinion. In addition, some may change their opinion after reading or knowing other’s. Because they lack confidence, they are easily confused about which side they should be. So they remain silent, instead of speaking a certain opinion then changing it afterwards.
I know that we all have our own reasons why we choose to stay silent about our opinion. But whatever it is, we should realize that everyone’s opinion matters. But always remember, that it is best to deliver them politely and start to learn accepting criticisms. Be confident and stand for what you believe and what you think is right.
We are teenagers, and we are born to stand out. But we could only stand out, if we start to voice out our thoughts and be part of something.
You have a voice, let it speak and be heard.
Don’t just zip your mouth.
Believe in yourself, and learn to speak, little by little until you can. Let’s do this.
(Thank you so much to all my fellows who’ve been part of my simple interview. You were such a great help!)
“Mommy, why does the moon follow us wherever we go?” “Sis, why do stars are visible only at night?” “Daddy, why can’t I hold the sun with the palm of my hand?” “Bro, can I reach the heaven someday, when I get older and taller?”
You. Do you remember?
Do you still remember yourself asking these questions, thinking of world as a place of mystery? Like a Christmas present from your mom, waiting to be unwrapped.
As a child, we have a never-ending questions waiting to be answered. And as we grow up, little do we know that these questions are answered, one by one. Maybe, that’s one of the reason why children are so eager to grow up. They are in need of knowledge, something that could turn their mysterious world into a world filled with many chances and opportunities.
And as a child, we don’t know how challenging and cruel the world could be when we grow up, making us regret and miss our unforgettable childhood.
When you used to play dolls and cars, now you play the game of life.
When you used to listen to bedtime stories, now you listen to endless rumors about you.
When you used to cry because your playmate took your toys, and now you cry because your partner was robbed and taken away from you.
When you refused to sleep because you aren’t tired yet, now it’s the other way around.
When all of your fears could be swept away with a kiss.
When your dreams and reality were one and the same.
Innocence turns to Guilt.
Joy turns to Misery.
Smile turns to Frown.
Everything has changed. And you wish they didn’t.
Do you still remember?
Playing, and playing, doing everything you want. Not caring about what others may think of you. Until you grew into adolescents. You fell and was forced to live a world filled with restrictions and rules, with so many Do this and Don’t do this. You are restricted to cross the bridge you want to go. Beautiful things are hidden behind the walls and boundaries the cruel world has made for us, for adults. You stopped asking questions, and let the society enter your mind and answer the questions for you, and not even considering what you think of it.
These are things you wish to get back. These are things you thought were gone. But they didn’t, because these childhood memories are tucked in the safest corners of our hearts, living and forever will be.
Children, enjoy your childhood when you still can, treasure them for these memories would be the precious possession you could have when you grow up. Don’t worry about the future, because the day you fret about you in the future is the day you will have to left your childhood behind. Leaving it behind, replacing them with what you thought is a beautiful thing but in fact, an illusion. Go on, learn, ask questions, and explore the mysterious world. Uncover the mysteries by yourself and consider it an adventure.
Adults, I wish you good luck to the challenges you’re facing and you will have to face anytime soon. Never forget your childhood, the smiles and innocence you used to have. Cherish them, and let them live forever. If by now, you still cannot figure why stars are following you everywhere, research and explore. Just like a child uncovering all the mysteries of life.