Getting the youths of the nation into adulthood

Reflections on film “The King of Bastøy” about juvenile delinquents in a youth-prison in Norway about 1915 with harsh methods, non-evolved thinking about we really do. Things have improved markedly since then, but a bit of thinking about what goes on could be useful.

Many youths and children do not fit in and become delinquents and have to be taken care of by representatives of society. This is complex, difficult and a source of debate about methods.

This may clearly be about estrangement, lack of understanding, social problems, many kinds of conflict. These unlucky people now become clients in the client society we are creating – professionals take care of them. This is often felt like “society is brainwashing me, making me into what they want”.

So should we try new methods? Should we be more active in such transition processes, admit that we have to put more effort into it, look upon it as a consciousness-building process that many people need or want?

Should we think more widely and offer new ways of approaching the situation, mainly based on listening to the people involved, creating solutions formulated by the youths themselves, and looking at it as an initiation program where you can find your place in society, as a way of finding your adulthood. Where social and local support is good this often happens by itself, but surely it would be possible to include all kinds of people in a broad programme offered by society. This way it becomes an option for all kinds of youths to find their own way.

The idea could be to change your location, test other locations, change your social environment, try other locations and try to find what you like to do with your life. You can do it in your own country, or preferably you move abroad. You should do this on your own, and you get the support – preferably from your own “nearness” – you need money-wise and programme-wise.

In this way you can test your own limits, find who you are, what you can do, see your problem-solving ability, how you can enter into other societies, try and learn other languages. This should also be exciting, an adventure. The length of such a programme must be appropriate, open to evaluation. The control and measurement of results should not be too strict, as it should also function as a safety valve for society.

Many societies have initiation rites, and a common platform like this for for many young people could be part of the solution.

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