Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Good News

I’ve always tried to be a “don’t worry, be happy” kind of person but if you read the news these days or watch television, you would be hard pressed to stay in the happiness zone. Unemployment continues to rise, oil continues to spew from the rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and the stock market swings with more wild abandon than my butt in a bathing suit.

Depressed yet?

I keep looking for the silver lining and have had to look no further than my backyard to find some good in the world. People constantly talk about today’s disaffected youth, and I have even railed about how today’s teens and young adults need to find worthwhile pursuits. But having read some graduation speeches and met some recent high-school and college grads in the past few weeks, I’ve become heartened by what I’ve discovered: Today’s graduates are more on the ball than I ever was or will ever be.

In the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of attending several graduation parties for the children of friends. At these parties, I’ve met other graduates and their families. I have been struck by the fact that all of the young men and women I have come to fete or met for the first time are articulate, polite, poised, confident, and studious. They are all on their way to some fine institutions of higher learning—the University of Delaware, Columbia University, the University of North Carolina, and even West Point, to name a few. They are people who I am sure will accomplish great things in their lives. They are people I enjoy talking to, getting to know better, and learning more about what they think about the big issues that confront our country and our world.

With my friend, Tina Jordan, I taught a college-essay application writing course at the local high school to a group of fourteen students. Based on what I had heard from their parents, the kids attending had no blessed idea about what to write, nor did they have any experiences that would help them achieve the goal of preparing a well-written, interesting essay. I found the opposite to be true. Even if they came without any ideas, by the time we began the writing portion of the program, everyone was busily writing about things that make them happy and unique: chicken fungus, rapping, super stacking, and the love of Jane Austen. To see a disparate group of kids writing about their passions was truly a joy for both of us.

So if things are getting you down, I’m here to tell you that the future is not as bleak as it seems. If the youth of my little village are any indication, we are in very good hands.

Maggie Barbieri

6 comments:

  1. Thanks, Maggie! I have always believed in the younger people. Maybe because I spent a lot of time with them listening more than talking.True they have a lot to learn but they also have much to teach.

    Mary
    Giggles and Guns

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  2. Yay for smart, confident young peeps! I think the media so often shows us the dippy, hopeless ones that we start to feel like, "This is it?" I'll bet some of these bright teens could solve problems better than a lot of the so-called grown-ups running things now! ;-)

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  3. I'm with Susan--I think we have too much of the wrong and really false kind of teen shown in media: the Gossip Girl set is about as far from most of the reality as you can get!

    Yes, silly or goofy or out-right dumb occurs across all populations. So, just like we find adults around us who make us slap our foreheads, we find young adults and teens who do the same. But, there are some terrific and energetic young people growing up right now who will blow you away with their decency, goal-setting, dedication and work ethic. Good on them, I say! And, luck for us all.

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  4. I'm so glad you're all as jazzed as I am! What great kids--with great parents, one would assume. I am so excited for these young people and the future that awaits them. Was there any time more exciting than that summer before freshman year of college? Maggie

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  5. This was a nice piece and everything, and I'm glad to hear this good news about today's youth, but my favorite part was, "swings with more wild abandon than my butt in a bathing suit." No disrespect to your butt, but that line was pure genius.

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  6. So nice to hear such positive statements about our youth. I'm around a lot of young people too and the majority of them are level headed and ready to take on the challenges of the world. Not all of them are going on to university, but have clear plans mapped out for their futures.

    Spent part of the holiday weekend with my 17 year old granddaughter who is working this summer in a bikini store and plans to do independent studies for her senior year through the local community college so she can continue working full time. Thought that was interesting and different.

    My 17 year old great-grandson is looking forward to basketball season at high school and is already involved with practice. He and his brother help their folks with their pool-cleaning business.

    Marilyn

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