By Molly Eberz-Rump
In light of the fact there is so much negativity and animosity in the news today, our young people are a source of great hope.
I have two sons, aged 17 and 18, and my observations are based in good part on the thoughts, words and deeds I have experienced firsthand.
In the first place, there is an overwhelming awareness of the need to fix our decaying planet. From small, everyday things, like recycling and carpooling, picking up trash that is not theirs, and otherwise beautifying what is right in front of them are frequent actions. As many of them are old enough to drive, no longer do I hear about “hot sports cars” or giant SUVs. The conversations are about used Priuses and electric cars. The goal when they have money one day leans toward the likes of the Tesla. All of which demonstrate an awareness of the importance of cutting carbon emissions.
In talks about college majors, the focus of young people is more and more geared to making a difference versus getting rich. I hear discussions about careers in solar energy, marine biology, environmental engineering, oceanography and the like.
From a purely social standpoint, we hear about the drug epidemic and the growth of vaping. Yes, this type of behavior does exist and always will. However, having been around hundreds of teenagers at one point or another, it is clear that a great majority regard such behaviors as very “uncool.”
Teenagers who are athletes have a job, and take schoolwork seriously are far less apt to dabble in what used to be called these rites of passage than generations past.
Teens today go out of their way to stay informed about world events – both good and bad. They have a healthy respect for differing political views. I have had the pleasure of quietly witnessing firsthand some amazingly informed discussions in a plethora of areas, without arguments turning personal. That’s something we adults would do well to emulate.
In the area of technology, teenagers are not missing out – as it is often asserted – on basic one-on-one social skills. The teens with whom this writer has interacted are polite, make eye contact and put their phones down when conversing (provided parents don’t spend the dinner hour with their own out). Phones and computers are just a necessary tool to connect, educate and bring us all closer.
Finally, it has been asserted by many that it is taking kids longer and longer to grow up. That is simply not true. When an 18-year-old enters college this year, technology and the state of the world may have changed in such a vast number of ways that additional or different skills may be required before he or she is ready for the job market.
Also, the passion with which young people are entering into certain types of career paths may create a need for unique and diverse specializations. These things take longer. And so what?
The generation that is next to grow into adults is going to change the course of the world for the better. All one needs do is observe the remarkable young people that will inevitably succeed by following what is right and what their passions dictate.
Molly Eberz-Rump, of Snyder, thinks today’s youth gets a bad rap.