“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!)
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”― Ronald Reagan
In this world, where different people with different personalities, capabilities, and beliefs are altogether living surely explain why all of us need a great leader for us to follow. Just like a vast ocean, where different fishes swim need a great leader to lead the way. But among them all, how do we spot a great leader to choose? What does it take to be a great leader?
1. They are passionate.
To lead is a very great responsibility, it is something that you cannot take too lightly. It is a privilege, but at the same time, a burden. So it is essential to have a leader who really wants to lead, and is passionate about it. A person with a passion-driven leadership is expected not to give up easily. He will wholeheartedly accept all the challenges and will do his best to surpass them all.
2. They are an inspiration.
A great leader is not just a leader, he is an inspiration. He would demonstrate all the possibilities even during the worst and difficult times. A great leader isn’t just great alone, thus, he helps others to also bring out their greatness within. He lifts his followers up, as he also rises together with them. To be a great leader is to be an inspiration, and how to be an inspiration is explained by John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
3. They are also a follower.
A leader cannot be a great one if he doesn’t learn and experience how it is to be a follower. If not, he would just keep on speaking and making commands, without understanding how it should be followed. To explain it clearly, is a famous quotation, “Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done.”Moreover, he takes action together with his followers as one of them, and doesn’t take credits once it succeeds.
4. They are optimistic.
Certainly, we won’t dream of a pessimist leader who only sees the difficulties in every opportunity, instead, we need an optimistic one to see the opportunies in the difficult times. It is very important for a leader to have a positive attitude for everyone’s future is in his hands. A negative attitude of a leader would definitely bring drought to his followers. A great leader is not expected to utter words like “I can’t,” but positive words like “I can, and I will.”
5. They are brave.
Maybe, most of you would think that a leader is standing on the stage, facing the crowd, and making speeches. But a great leader is so much more than that, he also stands in the middle where many guns or knives are pointing at him, waiting for him to make a mistake. A great leader is a brave person. He is willing to take risks for the good of everyone, and brave enough to take the blame when he fails. A great leader is unafraid to stand for what is right, for what he believes in, and most importantly, for his followers. He is fearless to speak out even if he’s the only one at the other side. Above all else, he must be courageous enough to go against the tide of opinions.
Definitely and inevitably, there are lot more characteristics we should be looking for on a great leader. But what is important is for all of us to understand that we, ourselves, are also leaders waiting for our right time to lead. To our current, and future leaders, be great and good luck to all of you.