No matter what year it is folks seem to love to complain about ‘teenagers today’. They did it when I was little, they did it when I was a teen, they have always done it and always will. I never really saw it – whatever it was that makes people think the future is in dire straights because of how teens act.
As I get older, I guess I was supposed to see it more- the big problems with teenagers, but frankly, I still don’t. In fact, as my own kiddo has entered her early teen years, and she is hanging out with so many other teen people, I’m feeling more and more reassured.
A couple days ago my teen came on a walk with me and we saw a bag of garbage on the side of the road that had broken and spilled. We chatted about what a mess and a shame it all was, and I would have thought we’d leave it at that. That’s what people do, right? Keep walking. Nope. She thought we needed to clean it up. So we did. We went home, got a garbage bag, gloves and her sister and we picked the garbage up – and all the garbage along the road to and from our house to boot. They even did it with smiles and saying how much nicer the neighborhood looks now. They ain’t wrong.
The tween social group they belong to made Valentines, 90 I think they said, for a local nursing home. All they talked about was how great it was to do something nice for strangers. Their Girl Scout troop voted to grow food in a community garden to donate to the food bank. They have done many other community service projects over the years as well; this isn’t a new thing for them. I was in clubs and scouts as a kid, we didn’t do that sort of thing.
It is possible, likely even, that this amazing generation of teens and tweens of my acquaintance is not typical of all teens everywhere right now, but they’re here. They are full of hope and energy and a desire to help, and they are rubbing off on me. Isn’t that cool?