I believe in teenagers. They won’t tolerate boredom, so they encourage fun and laughter.
They can always spot a phony, so they demand authenticity. If we can’t keep it real, we can’t be keeping it.
Teenagers are old enough to understand the problems that earlier generations have caused, but they’re still young enough to have hope. They are too old to be shielded from the truth, but too young to be completely cynical or apathetic. I believe in teenagers because they believe they can make a difference. And they are right.
What do all these teenagers have in common? Squeaky-clean youth, in private suburban schools, whose parents choose their college by the time they are in kindergarten… Rural youth who can drive the family tractor at age 10 and don’t mind getting dirty or eating pork chops from the pig they raised as a family pet… Military youth who answer “yes, ma’am” or “no, ma’am” to everything you say… Urban youth who pass yellow police tape at crime scenes on their way to the bus stop to get to school… What could they have in common?
They are ready to live. Whether I meet them in schools, or churches, or organizations, they are ready. Young people are eager to learn about their world, reflect on their learning, plan out their response, and put it into practice with community service. They are hungry for mentors and positive peers to support them.
I believe young people are tomorrow’s present to us. They are a gift from the future, a gift we can receive today. They are a treasure, because they are young and I am getting older. They are energetic, while I have weary bones and aching muscles. I may have wisdom, but they have enthusiasm. They infect me with their faith and their confidence, and before I know it, they have me believing in their ideas and visions. They have become leaders.
So, because of teenagers, I believe tomorrow’s present for us now. In many ways, tomorrow is already here. I can see their dreams becoming reality, I can perceive glimpses of the future they are creating. It will be better… and cleaner, and safer, and more beautiful and more peaceful. And with their help, I can be a part of it today. Not only because of what I teach them, but even more so, because of what they teach me.
This I believe:
Because of teenagers, tomorrow’s present.
Because teenagers are tomorrow’s present.
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