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'Children are now tyrants' said Socrates - he's wrong

Column by King's School student Callum Sutton

“Children; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room, they contradict their parents and tyrannize their teachers. Children are now tyrants.”

You may be thinking that this quote is a disgruntled parent, frustrated teacher or just someone expressing their lack of hope for this new generation. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. This quote is taken from Socrates, circa 470BC.

The reason I have referenced such a quote is that, although it may be 2,488 years old, it could not be more relevant today.

Callum Sutton (10893551)
Callum Sutton (10893551)

Young people nowadays are shown in a light that portrays them as useless, unengaged, lazy, rude – the list goes on. Although, when put in the context of history and the thoughts of people of the past, Socrates being an example, it’s clear to see that this misconception has always been thus – a misconception.

Little did Socrates know that the youth of his people he was referencing, would go on to lead developments in mathematics, astronomy, language – even invent something so insignificant yet widely used as the alarm clock.

My point being, if Socrates, one of the greatest thinkers in history, could be so misled about the young people of his day, surely our current stereotypes are destined to be false.

All it takes is a simple look at the youth of today to debunk our misconceptions.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old environmental activist who has sparked passion and influence over the current environmentalist marches happening globally. She is a young person who is extremely engaged in global issues and wants a better future for the younger generation, of which she is one.

Young people are driven. They fight for what they believe in, based off soaked up knowledge they are exposed to regularly through education. The choices and decisions made by the politicians and the powerful may be made by older generations, but the young people are the ones that have to bear the consequences. Young people are the potential of our future and they don’t deserve to be discounted.

Misconceptions and sweeping stereotypes are commonplace in today’s society. But don’t let those of young people fall into your repertoire.

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