When one looks into the character of the younger generation, it’s like looking into a mirror of a time long ago, a backward glimpse into who you were when younger.
On the other hand, but, more significantly, if you take the time, you are looking forward into the future, embodied in the young person before you, an exciting discovery, because this person will cut a different path through life, a life perhaps more dramatic and promising.
Does this person have the capacity to be a surgeon, a musician, a lawyer, someone who will make a difference, and to have influence, beyond his or her own life, affecting the community at large?
We speak of the promise of our “children” but, as a child of the 60s, I learned that, for many adults, that meant knowing your place, not rocking the boat, not really making much of a difference, not invoking what undeveloped gifts may still lay hidden to be revealed later.
Maryam Khan, a Wodbridge Senior, was motivated to make a difference, and to help Nicole Clark, organize the march from Lovettsville to Hillsboro to relieve the suffering that is cancer, and thinking to detect the signs early.
Maryam corralled her talented senior classmates to join the effort: Angelina Eades, Elizabeth Marcheschi, Malcolm Woehrle, and Kendall Briscoe.
They rallied around this cause, wanted to make a difference, because this issue mattered.
Angelina said she had plans, was engaged in honor studies, and hoped to become a surgeon in the Army.
Maryam is an editor of the school paper and loves to write.
Malcolm is deeply interested in politics, perhaps law.
Kendall can play several instruments, has played, to everyone’s surprise, since she was very young, and Kendall can’t find anywhere in the tales of her forbears where her skill for music arose.
Elizabeth has plans but she’s played her cards close.
Developing your character, discovering who you are, doing what you must, may find favor or be viewed as a robust objection to the rule of thumb world.
We have heard over our lifetimes objections to the young, what they say, what they do, that they have the temerity to be themselves and to speak their mind, collectively or individually.
We can’t say now what these friends may do but they have been caught by things that matter to them, want to do something, and they are not alone, there’s a generation of them, making their way.
In these difficult times, we must celebrate the character of our young to make the difference that matters.
We don’t say enough about the promise of children in a way that is not patronizing.
Perhaps we have forgotten who we were when we were young.