Wisest, not loudest voices for SA’s young

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By Jon Trafford

In life, there are too many occasions where the opinions, actions and behaviour of others will irritate, frustrate and anger you. All too often, these become the distractors and disruptors in building relationships which underpin future happiness and success. For young South Africans faced with a world that is both more global yet also more polarised, there can be no doubt that the role models of life should be built around those who have capacity to listen, reflect, show empathy, be less judgemental and more tolerant of those with whom they come into contact. It is a loud, boisterous world that has the potential to drown out the wise voice, the sensible comment and the calming influence. The loudest voice is not always the wisest voice.

For young South Africans having a voice now, as it was in 1976, is important and being able to express your opinions as entrenched in the constitution. Nevertheless, remember that it takes more than one person to have a conversation and so it is important for you to listen carefully because shared opinion is more balanced, wise and reasonable. Our own history is rich in role models who, in building our democratic ideal, created an environment that embraces and is tolerant of our diversity. Listen to the voices of many because no single view may hold the solution to a problem. It is in the discussions of many that wisdom is found and complex issues are resolved.

As we celebrate Youth Day 2018 let us be reminded that our success as a nation has been underscored by our ability to recognise that our diversity is our strength and that our ability to engage with each other in dialogue is a skill recognised on the international stage.

  • Jon Trafford is the Head of Kingswood College
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