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Opinion: What motivates Squamish youth?

On behalf of the Youth Council, we want youth to speak up, use their voice and have the opportunity to tell the community what is important to them.
Grant Boguski column
Grant Boguski.

I struggle with motivation as a teenager, and I know I am not alone. It was even hard to find the motivation to write this column during spring break.

In my mind, the problem is that some youth might feel that they need to be rewarded. Maybe it’s money, phone use or dessert. This is my problem when it comes to motivation. There aren’t many rewards, so it feels like my efforts go down the drain. It’s hard to get up and do something when we weigh other “teenage” things pulling us down. Fatigue. Anxiety. Depression. Mood swings.

It’s also hard to stay motivated without being rewarded. If I work an eight-hour shift without hearing something positive like, “Good job, Grant” I feel unmotivated and unappreciated. Recently, a customer complimented me, and it kept me motivated for the rest of my shift.

Some people are motivated by likes on social media as it gives them five seconds of happiness. One study has proven that teenagers who received fewer likes felt more rejection and negative thoughts.

Showing no motivation at school can also drive youth away from their potential. I’ve heard things like, “I don’t have to try until high school because it doesn’t count yet,” or “I’ll start working hard when it matters,” and “I don’t need to know this, so why should I?” I know my grades don’t count towards university, but I still do my best.

This may be the problem of our generation when it comes to rewards; it has been something that we have become so used to it is as though it has almost been shoved in our faces. When we accomplish something, we expect a reward. We don’t cherish the journey or the lessons learned along the way, only the prize at the end of the road.

Another big problem is that many of us didn’t learn how to receive constructive criticism early on. On top of that, students who didn’t try and received criticism couldn’t use it, because criticism isn’t meaningful if it’s not your best work. Criticism greatly affects our work, and if we can’t receive it, we have a major problem that will severely impact our generation and the generations to come.

The truth is everything matters.

Without treating things like they matter, we can’t put true beauty into anything. Without effort, there is no value to be seen. Without thought, the world would be full of half-finished projects.

If we all acted as if nothing mattered, humanity would fall into disorder and chaos, but we wouldn’t care because we wouldn’t have put any effort into anything.

As a drummer, I treat every show like it’s the most important show of my life because you never know who’s sitting in the audience.

What’s my motivation for writing this column? On behalf of the Youth Council, we want youth to speak up, use their voice and have the opportunity to tell the community what is important to them. In the next months, The Squamish Chief will be publishing a monthly Youth Column written for youth by youth. We are working to create conversations with youth to find out how we change and help the community for the better. This all starts with motivation.

Grant Boguski is a Squamish 14-year-old French immersion student who also serves on the Squamish Youth Council.

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