More than ever, I fear for our nation’s youth. I’m not referring to their health and well-being so much (although that’s a huge problem) as I am their knowledge and facts about our country and other countries status; politically, socially and economically. Why, you may ask? Let me start off by giving an example:
I spoke with a young lady recently (probably late teens) while sitting in the lobby of an automotive center. We were both waiting on our cars being serviced. A television was communicating along the wall in the room, the news was on and current headlines were being shown. Among them were the crisis along the border, terrorist’s movements in Iraq, and hearings on Capitol Hill concerning the IRS’ lost emails situation. Her fingers were flying atop her cell phones keyboard, pausing only occasionally to look at the television. The room was crowded so we sat merely inches apart. I also noticed she wore a college T-shirt displaying one of our state’s universities which happened to be where one of my nephews is attending. Eventually, the texting stopped and she asked me to hand her a magazine on a table. As I did, I asked as I referenced her shirt, “Are you going there now?”
“In the fall, can’t wait.”
“Good school, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot.”
“I guess,” without much excitement.
The television turned to the situation along the border. “So, what do you think about what’s going on down there?”
She looked up, shrugging her shoulders slightly. “I don’t really care, doesn’t concern me much.”
“Really?” I said.
The television went back to showing images of rockets being fired and people killed in, Iraq. Pointing at the screen, “And what about the Middle East? Any thoughts on that?”
“Umm, that’s way over there. I’m sure our military can handle it.”
“Our military isn’t there anymore, they pulled out.”
“Really? Hmm, didn’t know that,” her cell phone chirping with incoming texts.
I couldn’t resist. “What do you think about our current President?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“Used to like him but don’t much anymore. I think he’ll probably get voted out the next time around.”
Perplexed and stunned, “Umm, he can’t serve again he’s on his second term.”
“Really, oh that’s good.”
“You didn’t know that the President can only be in office a maximum of two terms.”
“Not really, sorry.”
“How about Governors, Senators, Congressman. How long can they serve?”
“Umm… two terms?”
“Okay, any idea how much our nation is in debt, how hard it is to get a new job these days, or how high groceries and other stuff is compared to say, ten years ago?”
“I really don’t pay that much attention. Our country’s debt? Hmm, a few million?”
“I have to ask, what country bombed us at Pearl Harbor?”
Wrinkling her brow and giving it some thought, “The Germans?”
“I noticed you really like your cell phone, do you ever read much?”
“Nay, I don’t have that much time to read.”
I looked around and noticed other adults in the room, nodding their heads in disbelief, not believing the young lady’s answers.
About this time an attendant announced my car was ready. I said goodbye, and told her good luck in school. Of course, seconds later as I was walking out her attention was absorbed inside her keyboard, laughing and texting away. So much for not having time to read.
I’ve witnessed many other examples the past months and years of uneducated youth not knowing basic information about our government, international events, and criminal statistics. They’ve been lost inside a world filled with cell phones, I-pads, and a pop culture where Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, and Miley Cyrus rule-- a casual belief that our country is untouchable and cannot fail despite staggering debt and threats from overseas—an immersion in a society that’s unaccountable for their actions regardless of what they smoke, which brand they drink, who they vote for, and what God they worship, biblical or not--a future and country where our basic freedoms, landscape, culture, and American way-of-life is being challenged and dictated too by lawless politics and biased entertainment and media outlets. Times are definitely changing.
Aside from our country’s youth, ethnic differences play a large part in political, social, and cultural awareness. Where a person comes from and what race they’re born into more often than not determines how they believe, who they vote for, and people they’re comfortable around. We’re all on this world together, breathe the same air, and have virtually the same needs. Unfortunately, so many are victims of heritage and turn their backs on seeing the world differently from what their DNA taught them. They were raised a certain way during their upbringing, and that’s what they’re sticking with rather than seeing different sides of the equation.
I’ve been friends with people of all races: Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. And you can learn much from all of these and teach them as well. But, it all starts with opening minds and educating each other to new possibilities.
One of my good friends is African-American. She and I have been friends for several years and used to work together which is where we met. We meet periodically, really enjoy each others company, and love to solve the problems of the world since both of us have interests in current events. What’s interesting about our relationship is in the beginning we were polar opposites when it came to politics and culture. I’d express my side and she’d give me hers. But, a funny thing happened as our friendship and conversations evolved, we started meeting in the middle rather than staying entrenched. We began educating each other with facts and figures as to why be believed the way we did. Now, we’ll never agree on many things completely, but being able to shed light on the very basics has increased our knowledge and personal education. However, it would’ve never happened without being open and having a willingness to learn.
I’ve been working on a new novel for a while, due out later this year. It’s the story of a man who, most of the time, lived isolated from the rest of society thanks to his upbringing and heritage. He saw the world mostly black-and-white and without much grey. However, thanks to some incredible luck, the love of new relationships, and a mind rescued from obscurity he becomes a new person seeing things differently. What follows is a life lived beyond his dreams and it reflects upon the subject of this article.
I hope for our nation’s sake, both our adults and youth learn to educate each other and stand together. Our country desperately needs this and our future depends on it.
Thanks for listening…