A New Hope
Many people that I talk with despair. They think that the world is going to hell. They think that things are getting worse all the time. The think that America's best days are behind it.
What a load of crap.
Yes, the world is imperfect, and we as a people even more so. Katrina has made everyone aware that our government, from the President on down to the local level, has made plenty of bad decisions. But that's no reason to moan and assume the fetal position.
To quote Churchill, "We will never surrender."
And you know what, there are plenty of things to be hopeful about, especially today's youth.
Given our media obsession with teen sex, recreational drug use, and Columbine, we don't always hear the good news: the kids are all right. In fact, they're better than their parents.
"They are also the most diverse generation ever: 35 percent are non-white, and the most tolerant, believing everyone should be part of the community.Historian Neil Howe, along with co-author William Strauss, has made a career studying different generations. Howe says all the research on echo boomers always reflects the same thing: They are much different than their self-absorbed, egocentric baby boomer parents.
"Nothing could be more anti-boom than being a good team player, right? Fitting in. Worrying less about leadership than follower-ship," says Howe. "If you go into a public school today, teamwork is stressed everywhere. Team teaching, team grading, collaborative sports, community service, service learning, student juries. I mean, the list goes on and on."
Howe thinks they are more like their grandparents, the great World War II generation -- more interested in building things up than tearing them down.
"When you ask kids, 'What do you most hope to achieve there?' Where they used to say, 'I wanna be No. 1. I wanna be the best,' increasingly they're saying, 'I wanna be an effective member of the team. I wanna do everything that's required of me,'" says Howe.
And you can already see some results. Violent crime among teenagers is down 60 to 70 percent. The use of tobacco and alcohol are at all-time lows. So is teen pregnancy. Five out of 10 echo boomers say they trust the government, and virtually all of them trust mom and dad."
Forget Brat Camp; we could all learn a thing or two from today's youth.
Of course, the kids aren't perfect. They're naive. They're impatient. They don't know what they want to do with their lives. And you know what? I think that we should be glad that even after everything they've been through, kids are still kids.