This I Believe

Jane - Crescent Springs, Kentucky
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: children

I believe this generation of women and men will be plenty capable to lead our country further into the twenty-first century, and they will do it not only with intelligent minds but with kind and courageous hearts.

“Kids these days…” begins many a discourse between older adults. When I’m not defending “kids these days” I’m working for them, Monday through Friday, at a Kentucky public university, home to the Norse and more than 14,000 students. While many people my age grumble about their work-a-day world, I eagerly enter mine, where for much of the eight hours I’m on campus, I get to meet with students, either in person or via email. I leave my office from time to time and am met with a throng of well-mannered, well-adjusted college students who hold doors open for me and return my greeting, always. I believe that if I were to ask my colleagues, they would share similar sentiments. It’s part of the ties that bind us to working in higher education.

I’m actually raising a couple of my own “kids these days,” and no, they’re not glued to their cell phones or computers and yes, they are just as polite as I was back in my day. Besides being technologically savvy, they seem much more thoughtful and less self-absorbed than I was when I was their age. I believe it may be that same technology that connects them to others and their issues all over the world that ultimately brings them to a more thoughtful and diverse mindset.

This week, all eyes are on Virginia Tech and their tragedy. I extend my thoughts to the Hokie family. What sorrow! I look at the pictures of those who died, read their individual life stories, and I am struck by their innocence, their infinite youth. Then I look around my own family and university where I work, and I see similar faces filled with the same energy and vibrant minds that most certainly wander about the VT campus.

When our college convened for its moment of silence in the grassy amphitheater on Tuesday, faculty and staff sat among the “kids these days” who bowed their heads in solemn remembrance. I sat behind one young man and watched while he removed his baseball cap and lowered his eyes toward the ground. Student groups here have quickly sprung into action to extend a collective campus sympathy, and all of our hearts are joined in grief and sorrow.

A quick perusal of Facebook finds kids these days starting Virginia Tech remembrance groups and memorial pages. The VT emblem has replaced profile pictures for many on this website.

I believe kids these days are just as connected to the world and its issues as was my generation, and all the generations before mine. I’ve always believed that kids get a bad rap, but I think it is especially true when most of what the media portrays is negative and false and its audience is quick to absorb the message and regard it as gospel-truth.

As technology continues to expand our horizons and widen the proverbial generation gap, I believe that if I continue to take the time to bridge this gap, I will be pleasantly reminded that today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. And I believe that is a very good thing, indeed.