Kids These Days

By - February 11th 2015.

We’ve all heard the saying . . . kids these days!

And yet, there are plenty of examples of young people seeking to make the world a better place.

There are everyday examples of what some used to consider common courtesy.

One mom had to take her young children to the doctor’s across town. She had to ride the bus with her three in tow. It wasn’t a problem on the way there. There were plenty of available seats. And yet, on the way home, it was a different story.

You see, school had just let out, and the bus was filled to overflowing with high school students. All the seats were occupied, so this mom tried her best to deal with a stroller and her family. Before the bus had gotten a block from the medical centre, a teen offered her his seat. She was most grateful and knew then that kids these days aren’t all that bad.

And it’s not only these little things that make the world a better place, of course. It’s those examples of young people giving of their time and energy to reach out to those in need.

A group of senior high teens and their sponsors took their vacation time to head two-and-a-half hours north to run a day camp for elementary school-aged children and reach out to their fellow teens. They ran fundraisers to cover the cost and met together regularly before the trip to prepare.

They slept in tents and put in long hours decorating the facility, practicing skits and songs, and preparing games. And more importantly, they spent time getting to know the children and having fun with them. Their efforts and willingness to adapt when asked were well-received.

The local teens, however, were not as keen to spend time with “the intruders,” but the young people kept up with their day-to-day responsibilities faithfully and enthusiastically. Their sponsors were impressed with their efforts.

Yet another group of young people committed to traveling 15 hours east to help in whatever way they could. As it turned out, they ended up tearing down a building and saving the organization thousands of dollars. For this, the team gave up time, money, sleep, and relaxation—and had a blast while doing so. And, of course, there was the 15 hour return trip, which included a broken down van and the fun that goes with it.

And a third group ventured even farther afield. So many people talk about their wonderful vacations to the Dominican Republic, a warm Caribbean destination that sounds pretty good to those of us in the Great White North about this point.

However, there is “another Dominican Republic,” one where poverty and despair are the daily reality. And this was the destination of these young people and their adult sponsors. Again, they were working with children, but the conditions were eye-opening. The Haitian refugees were discriminated against. Three million of them lived in only 104 square kilometres.

The team’s days involved working with the children: stories, games, crafts, songs, and reaching out to those on the streets and paying calls to local residents. They also were involved in a building project.

And what was one young man’s favourite part of the trip? (By the way, this particular teen is setting records in field events and could very likely be headed for the Olympics. He gave up training time to go on this trip.) This is what he had to say:

My favourite part of the trip was working with the kids. My favourite part of the day was, without a doubt, spending time connecting with the kids. They took such pride in completing their crafts and listened intently to the stories. They just wanted to soak in everything we had to offer.

Kids these days, indeed!

We may not hear about these examples. It seems we’re more prone to complaining about the times when someone—young or not-so-young—wrongs us in some way. It takes practice to look for the positives. But we’ll be happier when we do—and so will the people around us.

Why not get together with some of your friends and discuss positive experiences you’ve had with young people. Even better, why not invite a few of them in to address the group. You may very well come away encouraged by “kids these days.”
Let’s look for reasons to smile today.