It is the failing of youth not to be able to restrain its own violence. – Seneca
What does that mean?
Ah, the joys of youth. While often times described as misspent, if one both survives and manages to learn from it, then is it really misspent? That is true of most aspects of our growing and experimenting years.
In this case, the quote singles out violence as one of the ways youth act out. As we grow into adulthood, we test the limits. Both ours, and those of society. We know where they are supposed to be, but are they really?
We test the limits to find out what we an and cannot do, and we use the information to make our own guard-rails or safety nets. At least those who wish to prosper in the future usually do so. Some don’t seem to care.
The violence tends to be from a combination of hormones, emotions, and frustration. Any one can be dangerous, but together they can be messy. Add a couple dozen others of similar circumstances and things can go down hill fast.
Why is prudence or restraint important?
It is easy to get excited, especially as a youth. As mentioned before, that is a time of great changes in our minds, as well as our bodies. Chemicals which trigger physical development often also have an impact on our brains.
Both our emotional circuitry and our cognitive circuitry can be seriously compromised. That, unfortunately, compounds the challenges of youth as they grow up and try to find their place in adult society. This is where their use of prudence and restraint is very helpful.
It can be a difficult task to accomplish, and more so for some than others. Yet it must be tried. Again and again, and again and again. Success is always an option, as is failure. However, if one doesn’t even try, success is far less likely, right?
As we become more familiar with prudence and restraint, their use becomes more familiar as well. With a bit more effort, we can begin to develop habits which can help save us from impulses, both violent and not so violent. And so can they, with our help
Where can I apply this in my life?
This quote, at the core, is about self control and the ability to hold it in when we want to act out. There are times and places for acting out. There are also times and places where it is inappropriate. Prudence and restraint helps us in those trying times.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, youth are still developing some of these mental circuits. Their brains are not as reliable in some of their capabilities as they are in others. They might do math very well, but start a fight at the drop of a hat.
That lack of restraint is the basis of the quote, and a great deal of trouble throughout the world. In the USA, gangs of youth with little to no ability, or for that matter, desire, to control their violence are a great trouble to many cities.
Remember that this quote is nearly 2000 years old. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Given this rock solid trajectory, we can expect youth to behave themselves somewhere near never, right? At least that’s how the math works out.
So the next question is how do we help youth to get through these troubled times? How do we help them restrain their own violence? It doesn’t matter whether the violence is directed at objects, animals, their elders, or each-other, we need to find ways that work.
And that is the first difficulty. Every person is different. What will work for one won’t necessarily work for anyone else. Then we get into cultural differences. Will a gang respond to the same programs as an individual? Will a city kid respond to the same programs that work for a country kid?
What I’m getting at is this isn’t a top-down problem. No one person or one program will do the job. It’s up to us to help each kid. One at a time. From the bottom up. That sounds like a huge job, until you realize that there are more of us than there are of them.
Youth cannot always restrain their own violence. Twenty centuries of trying has proven that. It has also proven that society cannot always restrain them either. While I do not know the exact solution, strong families and strong communities, as well as respect between people do seem to be a good foundation on which to build.
Take some time to think about what you can do. What kind of clubs are there in your area to help youth find other outlets for their anger, aggression, and frustration? What can we do to be part of the solution, instead of simply sitting in the stands complaining about what we see?
From: Twitter, @philoquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna117762.html
Photo by amanda in wonderland
- Restorative Justice: A Cure For Epidemic Youth Crime? (cebreez.com)
- Is media teaching violence? (collegian.com)
- Street Level Youth Media SAAP Summer 2013 Showcase (chivoices.wordpress.com)
- Peace can only be achieved through non-violence. This is something we have to train and educate our children to put into effect. (philosiblog.com)