I am worried about today’s generation. As I write these words I am shrieking inside – OMG!! I HAVE BECOME MY MOTHER!! When I was a teenager, my Mom would tell me she was worried about the future of our Country with the teenagers of the day soon taking their place in the world. Being that it was the late 60s and drugs had started to have an impact, the Vietnam “Conflict” had started, and there were riots at some major universities, perhaps she had reason. She was convinced the music of the times was enough in itself to send us all straight to Hell.
My worries of today’s generation are a little different. I don’t see the passion to change things for the better in many of the youth of today. I see young people who are jaded, feeling a lot of anger, even hate, toward their parents, siblings, teachers, fellow students, and total strangers. Our generation would march and protest against the Vietnam Conflict, the sending of our young men and women across the world to a place that didn’t want them and away from places that did. We did not, however, have instances where one of our classmates would come into our school and start shooting their fellow students, or go into a local grade school and kill first and second grade children, or open fire in a crowded theatre.
Columbine was a huge wake up call for me and many others. I read the book about what happened at Columbine to try to understand it, to try to figure out how two young men could be that angry. They were so angry they could not come up with any other action but to kill and maim as many of their fellow students and teachers as possible before killing themselves. And no one saw it coming! How does that happen? How does a person get so angry that instead of taking their anger out in some way where people don’t die, they try to kill anyone and everyone they encounter? What causes that much anger and hate in someone so young? And again, how did no one see this coming? And these questions apply to every one of the many school shootings that have happened since Columbine.
I would advocate for more effort be spent working with our children, and their parents, to keep an open relationship with them so if/when these feelings of anger, frustration, and desperation start to manifest itself in them, someone will notice it and step up and do whatever needs to be done to get them help. It has been said it takes a village to raise a child, and that has been proven over and over again. How can a parent (or two parents) who are bitterly unhappy raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child on their own? These efforts will cost money for more counselors, more education for parents, teachers and the children themselves. Money for social programs is always a hard sell, but we can either increase the budget for these programs or we can keep increasing the cost for prisons, and continue to bear the costs of the devastation they create and bury those who could have been great leaders of our country.
First drafted in 2003; even more true in 2017.