I Don’t Despair About Kids Today

I Don’t Despair About Kids Today

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

I Don’t Despair About Kids Today

Sometimes when I’m flying from one speaking engagement to another, I find myself sitting next to someone who’s quite talkative. This is often a pleasant experience for me because I’m an inveterate people-watcher. I learn so much by watching and listening to the people I meet and see every day. I’ve heard stories of sadness and others of delight, fear and joy, and others that would rival those on “Oprah” and “Geraldo.”

Sad to say, there are times when I’m sitting next to someone who just wants to vent his spleen or inflict his political views on a captive audience for 600 miles. It was one of those days. I settled in, resignedly, as my seatmate began his disquisition on the terrible state of the world with the timeworn, “You know, kids today are . . .” He went on and on, sharing vague notions of the terrible state of teens and young adults, based on watching the six o’clock news rather selectively.

When I gratefully disembarked that plane and finally made it to my hotel in Indianapolis, I bought the local paper and went to have dinner in the hotel. There, on an inside page, was an article I believe ought to have been the front-page headline news.

In a little Indiana town, there was a 15-year-old boy with a brain tumor. He was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments. As a result of those treatments, he had lost all of his hair. I don’t know about you, but I remember how I would have felt about that at his age—I would have been mortified!

This young man’s classmates spontaneously came to the rescue: all the boys in his grade asked their mothers if they could shave their heads so that Brian wouldn’t be the only bald boy in the high school. There, on that page, was a photograph of a mother shaving off all of her son’s hair with the family looking on approvingly. And in the background, a group of similarly bald young men.

No, I don’t despair about kids today.

Hanoch McCarty, Ed.D.

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