My friend Roxanne recently sent me an email in which she vented about a conversation that had riled her. I was so impressed by it that I asked if I could post it here. Roxanne has recently started her own blog, so be sure to check it out.
The Youth of Today
by Roxanne Colyer Clingman
Everyone has the right to their opinion. Someone pushed my hot button the other day with their opinion and I want to say all the things I would have said in response if they were open to listen. I tried; however, they were adamant that their view was correct. This individual stated empirically that kids these days were lazy, had no causes and were wimps…they didn’t have any courage. That in the 60’s when this person was young, people got things done.
The only reason we don’t recognize our youth as Warrior is they are so far advanced from anything we ever tried to do that we don’t have a frame of reference. Simply because it doesn’t look like what people did five decades ago doesn’t mean it’s not courage. In my opinion, our youth are doing a much better job than we did.
They confront childhood cancers and illnesses that didn’t exist until we created such a toxic environment and food laced with carcinogens and excitotoxins. They have to function with the same thousands-of-year-old primitive bodies while withstanding technological advancements that constantly inundate their senses, energy fields and internal systems. They face the task of remaining connected as caring human beings while the first concern of their progenitors is embedded in their genetic code—annihilating any peoples who disagreed with or threatened us. They are dealing with noise pollution, energy awareness and ethical questions of medicine and science that we didn’t even conceive of. Our youth are developing sicknesses because they can’t touch the ground and play in the dirt anymore since we destroyed natural resources in the race to put up tenements and skyscrapers.
Who left them that legacy? In the sixties we were the ones who made all the promises to the future for a better world and we sold out to the same self-satisfied, superficial traditions of our parents. Our grandchildren are picking up the pieces of our middle-aged complacency and showing us our lack of integrity. When faced with something so critical to our ability to sleep at night no wonder we are willing to label our youth so we can justify our lack of participation in life and follow through by turning over and going back to sleep.
I would invite us to take another look. The kids today are cleaning up our mess. We’ve bestowed on our children and grandchildren the heritage of war and violence—aggressive, sarcastic communication and sterilized words for murder like ethnic cleansing and collateral damage. They are reaching past that and making friends on the other side of the planet. We have youth with the ability to see truth and connections on a global scale. We have youth whose concerns far outstrip ours. They get to the crux of teaching peace, breaking down the barriers of race, religion, gender. They are able to see through our prejudices and guile straight to the inconsistencies we preach. They care about recycling and preserving resources. They are not as interested in party affiliations as they are in honest politics. The youth of today are gifted, talented people who are struggling to bring a new paradigm to their work that allows creativity to receive as much financial remuneration and social respect as working in an office at a desk. Every form of hypocrisy is being called into question by these Beings who are leading us into the millennium. A ten-year-old piano prodigy turned down invitations to enter several prestigious music competitions. I asked why. He told me he didn’t like judgment in any form and he’d rather just enjoy the music. We have a lot to learn from kids these days.
We have a responsibility and privilege to be the people the rising generations can respect and look up to as mentors and friends or we will be left in the ashes of our own creations. I am saddened that those who have the experience and could be supporting and leading the youth through some of the tough spots can only judge them as lacking. On the other hand, I think some of us need to get out of the way and watch in wonder as these children lead us into the future. These are sensitive and intuitive kids that have a better way to go about making changes than just bulling through the china shop as we did.
Don’t tell me about gangs and all of the social ills of youth until you are ready to tell me what you are doing about it. What are you doing to facilitate healing across the generations?
Before we are so willing to label our youth, our first examination should be to our own heart and lives to see how much we are contributing to make society better for everyone. And, by the way, the time-worn line “I gave at the office” doesn’t cut it. There are many people who are still working within their capacity to make the world a better place to live. I know a ninety-one-year- old who is very active politically. A friend in her eighties recently retired after constructing a library system in a community where four generations venerate her for introducing them to literacy. If you’ve laid out for awhile it’s never too late to start again.
Trouble is, I’m preaching to the choir. The people who need to see this can’t be bothered to turn off their game shows and soap operas. The question of the day is…what could you be contributing to your world that will change it as much for the better as our youth are doing?