Meeting felt very long today, in part because my thoughts worked their way into a private dialogue on how our society has succeeded or failed. One criteria, from my point of view (of course) is how we treat our adolescents, our nascent adults. In that respect, we are failing.
We ignore them, hype them, market to them, glorify them and envy them. We sexualize, trivialize, terrorize and anesthetize them. We belittle them, load them with expectations and give them no support to achieve those expectations.
We’ve left them to deal with death, AIDS, sex, drug use and addiction, alcoholism, over-materialism and under-emotionalism. We’ve pampered them so that they can’t deal with disappointment; ignored them so that they have no idea what it means to be an adult.
And yet, despite all this, they survive. Some even thrive, and the majority will grow into adulthood and find some way to find love and meaning and the compassion to look out for one another. Some will because there are good adults in the world, and they bump into them and it sticks. Some will because that which is Good within them cannot be extinguished. And some will because they have been raised to do so.
This will not forgive us, though I hope they will.