My Students Have The Answers
I believe that my students will make the world a better place.
Take for example, Mollie. Oh, Mollie is a stick-skinny fashion maven whose monetary support of Starbucks could feed a small, under-developed country. But Mollie has a vision. She worries about the plight of local farmers, has established a group at our school that raises money and awareness. Insights about subsidies and globalization fall trippingly off her tongue.
And then there is Chris who has the nicest car in the parking lot, which is saying something, and, as you could probably guess, it is not a hybrid. Nevertheless, he is an expert on the environment and has established a nonprofit that is engaged in re-forestation. I mean literally: he plants trees in Brazil. Visit his very user friendly website and you can pay for the planting of as many trees as you want.
What each of them fails to do in the small decisions—the make-up, the fast food— they more than make up for in the larger ones. They possess tolerance, are incensed by the continued need for housing on the gulf coast, are really attentive when anyone talks about China, love research, and seek solutions.
I think the opposite is true of my generation. Oh, we fret over paper or plastic, but we participate in tourism that takes us directly to the thawing glaciers of Greenland. We are the identifier of problems. My students, though, have the answers.
In my youth, I participated in “shantytown” demonstrations to urge “the man” to divest financial interests from South Africa. Someone asked me recently whether that strategy worked. I don’t know for sure.
My students would know.
Teaching has been my great act of service. I volunteer in other venues–Habitat for Humanity, the local women’s shelter, for example—but I do so as a vehicle for my teaching, bringing groups of devoted students to each place.
And these kids, well dressed, well groomed, and “tricked out”, drink it up like sponges. Give them a “why” and they will quickly figure out “how.”
So I believe that if I teach them to care in general, they will know what to do in specific. They are fast-moving, action-oriented. Above all, they’re not afraid that they might fail; they’re used to getting what they want. Thank goodness what they want is what is best for the planet.
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