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Lift Our Children Up

I heard an interview from an African-American woman, age 19, who is currently running for the office of City Council in her city in Georgia. She is a full-time college student. She has been involved in civil rights since, amazingly, age 11. She was polite, gave excellent eye contact to the interviewer and spoke articulately, though humbly, about being the youngest person to seek elected office in the state of Georgia.

I believe many of the readers will agree that we live in troubling times. The divisive nature tied to politics and civil unrest has divided friends, families and neighbors. Our great country is only about 250 years old, compared to countries abroad that are thousands of years old. Relatively speaking, we’re barely adolescents. While deemed adults, some people who are in positions of power in business, politics, education and religion have taken full advantage of their station. Some who abuse their position of authority act and speak like a pouting and bratty adolescent. When challenged to clearly and honestly state their position, we have become all too accustomed to blaming and accusatory rhetoric. The use of transparency, honestly stating one’s position without referencing others who might oppose or object to one’s position, is rapidly dissipating.

Hey parents, check it out. Can you recall both when you were a youngster and the experiences with your children’s deflection of responsibility? “Son, you were late coming home last night. Where were you?” “Oh, my cell phone died, I couldn’t get to a phone.” Or, “Hey girl, your report card shows your grades going down. What’s going on?” “Oh, the teacher didn’t give us enough time and information in my English class.” So on and so forth. Next to the aforementioned problems, some youngsters get immersed into deeper and more serious problems that compound their parents’ problems, such as serious substance abuse and alcohol abuse, or becoming verbally or non-verbally violent.

I’m beginning to notice a small, yet credible, shift in news reports. Once and still newsworthy are stories of troubled youngsters who commit crimes. However, there are also news reports of youngsters who are successful in sports and also in academics. A friend once stated emphatically to me, “Sports are great. When will schools and news media offer the same accolades to those who achieve success in the classroom and in their communities?” It was a great question. Times are changing in this direction.

Beyond the measure and scope of news about problem children, where we merely shake our heads and blame the parents, there are infinite newsworthy stories of youngsters who are responsible and potential high-achievers in the upcoming generation. This is a call for us as parents and adults to lift up our children, all children, even those with emotional, mental and behavioral problems. Some youngsters are self-starters; some require encouragement and repetition, while others need the proverbial kick in the butt.

Those who detach from everyday matters of concern and are apathetic, please look within to access a bright future. Lastly, some of you might want to listen to a call to politics. Though not for everyone, the excitement, pleasure and satisfaction of being an integral part of a system for our collective future, such as holding down a political office, may be your calling. Well, give it a whirl. Hopefully, you’ll get your mentoring from the older generation. Sometimes, the old goats may want to have a break. You can vote at age 18. You can also run for elected offices. Humanity awaits your arrival.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

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