Why is it that every generation seems to think that there’s something different going on with kids these days, as compared to any other?

Last week I wrote my column about a few differences between when I was a teen compared to my daughter. 

Although there are apparent differences in technology from generation to generation, something I feel doesn’t change is that teenagers really are not given enough credit.

Recently, I was highly impressed by a few teenagers. It made me stop and think about giving credit and praise where it is due. Not only did the actions of these two young men impress me, but also the fact that they shined during what some consider the roughest years of life.

Teens are stuck in a yucky transition period of life. They have surpassed tantrum age and have reached an age where adults demand maturity. We encourage them to chase their dreams yet at times when these young adults display independence, they are accused of not really knowing what they are talking about and are sometimes categorized as rebellious.

It’s hard to comprehend that learning in general is a success when you feel nothing matters more than the numbers presented to universities. A fear is ingrained early on that you are doomed not being a highly above average applicant. It is hard to feel defined by numbers that show up on test results rather than meaningful friendships and fulfilled dreams; it’s hard to be a teenager.

A young man stood up and asked questions at a recent City Council meeting in Amery. Did he look a little unsure and nervous? Sure. Did he shine as bright as anyone who is passionate about a topic and was yearning for concerns about that topic to be heard? In my opinion, even more.

Micah, if you are reading this you should be proud. Your parents should be proud and the community you live in should be proud. Any change whether at a city, county, state or national level depends on public participation. You can sit and complain or you can be a voice. Whether a change goes the way we want or not, in the end you will definitely not achieve the goal if you don’t take the shot.

Three days after I watched Micah stand up in a crowded council meeting, ask questions and offer solutions, I had a young man by the name of Nick job shadow me for an entire day at the Free Press. I’m not sure if he was nervous on his way into “work” that day, but I was.

I reminded myself on the drive to town, not to lean back and kick my feet up on my desk and not to make faces when reading certain emails that come through. I told myself to plain and simply offer Nick the good and the bad and to tuck the ugly away in a box for the day.

Nick was bright, inquisitive and kind. We chatted about his life goals, his favorite things about school and parts he finds frustrating. 

I have watched competition programs on TV where judges talk about contestants having the “IT” factor. I am the last person who should judge anyone and I do not feel Nick needs to compete with anyone or anything other than his own goals, but I have a feeling about him. His vibe of being a generally good and motivated person is going to serve him well.

Here is the thing; it seems this generation of kids must be protected like none other. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

We’ve had the best of intentions, of course. I agree with those who say when we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. 

Multiple times kids are going to fail as many successful leaders have. Multitudes of those with success stories had to overcome naysayers, setbacks and disappointments to reach the top. 

Instead of scratching our head about kids these days, lets encourage them while they are young and impressionable to be tenacious while reminding them one of the prerequisites for success is some hurdles along the way that help you build strength and resilience.

Kids these days are smart and are going to fiercely take on the world, as we know it. If they can’t figure it out, they will Google it.

I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you, and look forward to readers sharing their thoughts in return.

Feel free to email me at editor@theameryfreepress.com, write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery WI. 54001 or I can be reached by phone at 715-268-8101.

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