Many people are convinced that most of today's societal problems are because of the "me" generation; youngsters are just out for themselves and pay no heed to others or their needs. Indeed, a common belief is that today's youngsters won't do anything unless there is something in it for them.
Yet, while sledding, I saw a different side to youngsters. I watched my two oldest children (then five and four) take my youngest (then two years old) by the hand to help her up the slippery slope each time they went up. They would have been faster without her, but not once did they try to sneak by her without helping. And when the sled carrying my two daughters was aimed toward the embankment, it was my five year old son who ran to them to stop them from falling and hurting themselves.
Don't get me wrong; these children sometimes fight amongst themselves and, on occasion, behave horribly. But I can take them shopping and know that they won't ask for anything, I can talk to them about tsunami or hurricane victims and know that they will offer to send some of their own money to the cause, and I can ask them to play with those children left on the sidelines and know that they will do their best to befriend them.
Perhaps, therefore, the "me" generation is to blame for much of society's problems - not the youngsters who want everything, but the adults in their lives who have taught them to selfishly think only of themselves and to want it all.
Most adults have been disillusioned at some time or another; sadly, many pass that disillusionment, with all its negative connotations, down to their children. Then the children learn to put themselves first and foremost!
Most young children want to help. We can encourage that feeling to continue into adulthood by teaching the lesson my children learned while sledding:
Just a thought.
Copyright © 2007 Rhia Roberts
Rhia is a true "citizen of the world!" Raised in Wales, she has taught in Wales, Kuwait, Zambia, Borneo, and the US. In addition, she has spent about two years backpacking around Europe, Africa and South-East Asia. Now she lives in California, US with her husband and their three multi-ethnic, adopted children. To see her latest work (entitled: All I really need to know I learned from animals) visit http://members.cox.net/rhia