I stood on a track surrounding a football field this weekend. I help out my daughter’s marching band by moving equipment (we call ourselves “Pit Parents”). As I stood watching her marching band compete this weekend I thought to myself “Oh, how I wish I was back there myself…” .
I was once in her shoes and there are times when I miss it terribly. Spending fall weekends marching half time shows at my high school or competing against other marching bands from September through November. I remember the anticipation, the angst, then the rush of knowing we were recognized for our hard work by winning. Yes, to be back in her shoes again, what would I give … Haven’t we all thought that? Wished to be back in the “carefree” days of our youth? Except they were anything but carefree, and today’s high school students are facing anxiety realizing how hard a time they are facing.
Thinking back to my own days in high school, I remembered, after the rose colored glasses came off, the anxiety we faced then. I graduated in 1985, smack in the middle of those awesome 80’s, the fabulous music, crazy hair and shoulder pads. Sure we worried about the same things all teens over all time have: boys/girls, who is dating our crush, zits, grades, sex, alcohol and drugs. But our worries went beyond that.
We spent the 4 years of our time in high school worrying about Soviets, nuclear war and decimation. I was a conservative then too. I loved listening to Ronnie Reagan speak, he had such a great way of distilling the fears of the day and calming them. But worry I did, just as my friends, that any minute some idiot in the Soviet Union would push the wrong button and “KABOOM” everything would be gone. For all you “youngsters” who are wondering who the Soviet Union was, google it, and then go watch War Games and Red Dawn (the original, not the remake coming out) on AMC. That was the reality of our worries.
So how does that effect today? I was talking with my daughter, for a split second when I actually got her to talk and not roll her eyes at me, and beyond those same age old worries, the “KABOOM” for her and her friends is “why do I have to do well in school, when it doesn’t matter? There will be no money for college and no jobs when we get out of college. Besides, the terrorists are going to finally get it right and take over … look at what happened in Libya. Us Christians will all be dead, so why bother?”
Students today are more on top of things than we adults like to give them credit. They hear the news, even the slanted mainstream media. They listen when we have to tell them, “No, that purchase has to wait for another paycheck. I can’t afford it right now.” I, unfortunately, have to tell her that a lot.
Of course, on one hand it teaches her that the bills have to come first, but it also tells her that times are really tough. Kids hear the parental arguments over too many bills and not enough income. They worry, really worry, that their parents may divorce because of the fighting, that they won’t have a home to live in, let alone a car to drive. They look for work too, and can’t get a job at the local grocery store or McDonalds because adults have taken all the “teen” jobs.
This last worry isn’t so far off. In April of this year the unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds was 24.9%. In a teen’s mind that means there will be no jobs later too, and you could chalk it up to teen drama, but given the poor economy and no prospect of it improving…
The choices we make are critical to the success for failure of the kids in school today. Not just on “education” issues, but on economic and foreign policy ones, too. Choosing the right person to lead us is more than critical, it’s a way to keep the anxiety of our children on things they should be – friends, grades, zits, etc. So today when you go vote, please keep those kids in mind. Vote in a way that ensures that their “KABOOM” goes away more completely than ours did … and more quickly.
Images: public domain