To the Unknown Youth who defy time every day

A few years ago, the Huffington Post had a series on adolescents who were making a difference in the world by doing truly wonderful things.  Many of these kids were raising funds for special needs groups, starting organizations to help others and selflessly giving of their time and energy to help benefit those less fortunate.  They were making a difference in the world and the profiles of these teens was both inspiring and motivating.  The series was well worth reading and the Huffington Post is to be applauded for featuring much good that is being done in the world.  It is all too easy to become cynical and bitter after reading the daily news.  Headlines blare about crimes and injustices that boggle the mind.  The way to sell papers is with bad news and not good news.  Inundated with a blizzard and barrage of crimes, is it any wonder that so many people now want to live in gated communities and carry concealed weapons.  
This fifth of my series on youth who defy time could or might have focused on one young individual who was making a difference.  However, I would rather say that I have someone who I know is making a difference and you do as well.  Let’s call this young person the “Unknown Youth.”  This is the youth who does not do great or majestic feats.  They start no world renowned institutes or organizations to help others.  Neither do they raise great sums of money or mobilize thousands of others to their charitable efforts.   These unknown youths make a difference simply by acting responsibly, helping others on a daily basis, doing their share in the world and not falling victim to the cynicism, commercialism and greed that afflicts so many others in our modern society. 
You meet these unknown youths on a daily basis. They hold the door for you, let you merge in line on the freeways, call you sir or madam, help their parents with chores, respect their teachers, volunteer for military service, go to work on time and generally are good responsible citizens.  They may never receive any awards for these efforts, but such youth are the backbone of society and our hope for the future. 
You may be wondering how it is that the unknown youth defy time. Well, consider the following quote generally attributed to Socrates by Plato:
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Whether this quote really comes from Plato or Aristotle or someone else is beside the point.  It has been around for centuries.  When you consider that for over 2000 years, we have labeled many young people as irresponsible and self-centered, it seems evident that any young person violating this stereotype is truly defying both their age group and their generation.  My own belief is that we “older” folks are always measuring the younger folks by standards and metrics that are not fair in the current culture.  There are some standards that are indeed timeless, but many of us have a way of judging others and forgetting the past that we once lived.  We hold others to higher standards then we ever had and then find them falling far short.  I think the fact is that youth today can never measure up to the “old days” when we elders walked through miles of snow drifts to get to school and would never ever, or at least hardly ever contradict our teachers or act selfishly.  Generations will always judge other generations and somehow the past is always better than the present.  The “good old days” seems to be part of human nature.  When I tell my friends that the best days are now and the future will be even better, many of them think that I am crazy.  This could never be true if the youth of today were even half as bad as many believe. 
As you go about your daily routines, see if you can notice a young person who is acting responsibly.  Notice how they behave and what you think about their behavior.  See if you can thank them for making a difference. The more of these young people you notice, the more your life will be full of hope and joy.  You will begin to notice that there is much more good behavior surrounding you than bad behavior.  See if you can add to the good by helping others and being thankful for the young people in your life.  How many of these good behaviors did you notice today?  How many of them did you thank or let the young person know you appreciated?  What was the response of the young person?  How did you feel? 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Obama
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 00:09:38




  2. John Persico
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 14:43:56

    Thanks President Obama. I am sorry I did not include you among my youth who defied time. You would certainly merit inclusion in my group. However, I would not want anyone to think I was favoring political parties right 🙂



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