Every generation craps on the generation before it, it’s our jobs, sort of a right of passage. “The kids these days….”, “When I was a young person…”, if you are over 40, hell if you are over 30, not only have you had thoughts like this, but you have probably said them out loud. I have. Of course when I do I shake my head in disbelief, muttering under my breath “when did I turn into my parents?”. But take heart because this goes back as far as we do. “Uggh, did you see what the kids are carrying around now? What do they call it? The ‘wheel’! Next thing you know they’ll be wheeling all around town, bumping into things, it will be chaos. Why if I had brought something like that to my cave my father would have….”, you get the picture.
One thing I have learned over the years is to try and keep an open mind so when I start to get down on young people I say to myself “get off your high horse you grumpy old bastard”. I try to look past the texting and the low pants (but really, what if you have to run? how can you run with your pants down that low?). Then I turn on the news and see Mylie Cyrus twerking on some award show and think to myself “yup, that’s just about what I thought”.
Last week as I drove to work I turned on the radio and found myself listening to an interview. The person being interviewed was a young woman by the name of Malala Yousafzai. If you are not familiar with her, she is a young woman (16 years old) from Pakistan who was shot in the face by the Taliban for going to school. I am not going to recount her whole story here, but if you have a minute she is worth reading up on, she has a lot to say worth listening to. The interview practically moved me to tears. There I sat, a grown man, now late for his shift in a warehouse, unable to leave his car, mesmerized by the thoughts of this young woman. Rarely in my life up to now has someone’s words inspired such feelings in me.
Not only did the interview leave me feeling great in renewed my faith in the young people of today. Lets face it, they are just kids being kids. They have to be different from the generation before them, they have to make their mark, the same way we did. They need time to come into their own and they need leaders. With leaders like Malala out there I think they might just do ok.