Early Influence

One day, I was in a McDonald’s around 4 p.m. after school. I was in a queue while there was a group of young schoolgirls in front of me, queuing up to get their food. While I was waiting, I was listening to a conversation that was loud. The girls were discussing a particular boy one of them fancied at their school.

One of the girls asked the other girl why she wouldn’t give him a chance; he’s nice. The girl to whom this question was addressed answered, “He’s nice, but he’s got no money. I need someone with money.” These girls, I would say, are no more than 12 years old. I was so shocked at the response; I couldn’t believe it. Young children are now making judgments about relationships not based on a person’s personality but on his financial status, as young as 12!

That is worrying! You could argue and say that it could just be one young female, but one is way too many, and that mindset will spread. Hearing this conversation made me realise, how would the actual boy she was talking about react if he heard this. At the age of 12, money shouldn’t be a motivator for liking a person. If that young boy, preferably around the same age of 12, heard this, what do you think this would have motivated him to do? What are his next steps? What would that have done to his confidence? If this is happening as young as 12, what can you imagine in the future?

Telling a 12-year-old boy, “I don’t like you because you don’t make enough money,” is disturbing because at the age of 12, how could you possibly be earning legal money? So now that the young boy’s confidence has been crushed, and now he has to look for ways to make money to build up his confidence so that this does not happen again in the future. The young girl’s thinking, if heard by the young boy, would have premeditated him to start a career in crime, and that’s how easy it can be.

The most worrying thing is the age and the mindset. More and more young people are thinking like this, and it is dangerous because it is only going to push them into a life of crime.

There is nothing wrong with being ambitious at a young age, but money shouldn’t be the reason why you make your final decision. As a society, we need to invest in showing people the consequences more and more, but also showing young people alternative careers they can follow. Showing young people different career paths and pointing them in the right direction. Young people need to see someone familiar, from the same background, area, and age group, doing what they’re doing so they can relate and make better life decisions.