This afternoon on our way back from my 16 year old daughter’s Inter Generation Orchestra practice, she asked a very unsettling question. I must paraphrase due to the scrambling my mind was doing because of the feelings of surprise at such a question. “Doesn’t anybody (adults & elected officials) care about the impact of their choices and the job they are doing?” She was referring to her future, her sister’s future, and the future of all her peers and those who will follow.
One of the benefits of schooling children at home (or supplementing public school education) is the depth of study and discourse you can engage with the student. Our three children have been schooled at home since kindergarten. My 16 year olds are studying Latin, Spanish, English, Science/Biology, World History, Civics, Saxon Math (Algebra), Logic, Critical Thinking, Creating Writing, Music, Drama, as well as numerous other self-study topics (Poetry, Art, and Classic Literature). They have easily surpassed me in the number of books read, composers studied, instruments played, and stories written. The result is well-rounded, alert minds that let nothing slip through their reasoning filters.
A little more context before I address my response/reaction to her question. The backdrop for this interchange is:
- Anniversary of 9/11
- Struggling American economy
- U.S. unemployment at 9.1 percent
- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Programs sustainability in question
- Potential for a repeat circus on Capitol Hill regarding the Debt Deal
- A politically charged/divided House and Senate more focused on party for party’s sake
- Drama of upcoming Presidential Election Campaign
- Waning Consumer Confidence
- Bipolar Stock Markets
- Questions about the safety of Nuclear Energy
- Hurricanes, Floods, Fires, Earthquakes
I could go on but it would only depress you. Needless to say, our teenagers across the nation are steps away from taking their place at the ballot boxes, finding their place (careers) in the world, and starting families of their own in an uncertain future.
My wonder at her question comes from the reality of the question. Everything we “adults” do (based upon our thoughts/feelings and choices) has a consequence. Those consequences not only visit us, but ripple to all generations that follow…like outwardly expanding rings on a pond after throwing a pebble. Basically, it starts with you, me, and the people we elected to help administer and govern our rights and freedoms as Americans! Our children didn’t have any choice about their entry into this world. We chose them! With those choices come great responsibilities that never expire. We are examples to them and each other. Our actions say much more about our values, principles, humanity, and respect than any label we may adopt or profess.
As parents, bosses, elected officials, friends….when you make a choice, do you ask yourself “What impact will this decision have upon my children, this culture or our way of life, and the subsequent choices necessary by those who follow in my footsteps?” Perhaps, if we all spent a little more time taking inventory of how well we are executing our responsibilities, we might be more inclined/motivated to judge ourselves and make better choices with the time and resources gifted to us. None of us are guaranteed longevity, and as misfortune would have it, today is an awful reminder that “the American Dream” isn’t promised to any of us, it must be earned, worked for, valued and protected. Even then, there are those who would deny us our way of life. We must be vigilantly mindful that all eyes are watching! What we do and say matters!
The daily rate of change across the globe, the influence between cultures, economy, dependency and cooperation is exponential. As biology teaches us, those who adapt quickly in states of rapid transformation are those who remain. We must value our children as individuals who have thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and will someday be carrying our burdens and cleaning up our messes. Invite your child to talk to you about how they feel about the world, their future, their opportunities.
My daughter feels very frustrated with her observations of our current political climate. I encouraged her to do something about it. If you’re a teenager and you’re reading this, I encourage you to not wait until you’re eighteen to begin exercising your rights as a U.S. Citizen. Start now, write your Congress and Senate Representatives and let them know your concerns.
- Obama, Congress hit new lows in polls | Capitol Hill Blue (nicolemaschke1.wordpress.com)
- Start Firing Elected Officials and Do Your Own Research BEFORE You Vote! (theindustrycosign.wordpress.com)
- Richard (RJ) Eskow: Why Not Hire the Young to Build Their Own Future? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Debt-free by 44? Many young Canadians think so (moneyville.ca)
- Inheriting a house: how to deal with the property (frugalliving.co.uk)
- Why do so many children leave church when they go to college? (4simpsons.wordpress.com)
- Home-schooled students keeping up with school-taught peers: Study (canada.com)
- Baby Boomers Blowing Through Kids’ Inheritance (newser.com)