It seems that each generation worries that the next generation is going to be the very ruination of the planet. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that the young people of today are surely “headed to hell in a hand basket.” I can still vividly recall my parents shaking their heads at the appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mind you, they were quite old and out of touch to my way of thinking. After all, they were in their 30s.
Yes, today there are young people who have lost their way. We will always have the rebellious among us, but that does not mean that we should judge all young people in the same light. During the past month, it has been my distinct privilege to have contact with some of the outstanding youths of our community.
Each year, the trustees of the Jerry Tabb Memorial Scholarship Trust have the responsibility of selecting a scholarship recipient. The process requires completion of the application, a one page letter explaining why the applicant is the best choice and a letter of recommendation from an instructor at Cass Career Center. This year, we received 12 very worthy applications. Once again, after reviewing the applications, I was amazed at the leadership abilities and community involvement of these fine young people.
My next experience was officer interviews for the Cass Career Center FFA. While there were nine offices that needed to be filled for the coming year, we were to interview 16 applicants for those positions. Each candidate for office filled out an application and then faced a panel of three community adults for an interview. The young men and women who went through this process were each quite impressive. Each of us on the panel expressed sorrow that there were not 16 positions to fill.
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Finally, last week were mock interviews at Harrisonville High School as a part of the finance class. I have participated in the past with these mock interviews, but this year was somewhat special in that I managed to persuade my wife, Linda, to accompany me. Together we interviewed six students, most sophomores, who had never had the experience of interviewing for a job.
During the FFA officer interviews and the mock interviews, I had the opportunity to pose the same question of each student. Very simply, I asked, “Who is your hero?” I must confess that I found the responses to be enlightening and encouraging.
The vast majority named a parent as a hero. And it was usually young men saying that dad was a hero while young women were saying it was mom. While we did hear an occasional reference to a favorite instructor, it was exciting to me to hear the positive comments being made by members of this generation.
When you hear people condemning the unruly and uncontrollable youth of today, politely remind them that what we read and hear in the news does not represent all youth. A lot of good, respectable young folks out there have been raised by good, decent parents who care about their children and their community.
I realize that the next generation doesn’t necessarily look at things the same way that I do. I don’t care for their music and I don’t approve of some of their choices in attire. But I have no worries about the future of our community or in the future of our nation, because I have already met our next leaders. I am proud to have met them, as they have restored my faith in tomorrow.