Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time talking and interacting with high school-aged students. This has been through our recent scholarship, through serving the youth of my community, and through visiting high schools to spread the word about our 2022 scholarship.
I’ll have to admit, the last time I spent this much time with kids ages 14-18 was when I was that age! Though I’m not too far off in age from them (about ten years their elder), I still have felt a disconnect to this age and culture that I’ve had to reprogram my brain to figure out. And like the majority of our society, I originally looked at this age group and was worried about our future! The way they talked, dressed, thought, and even walked had me worried that someday our world would be run to the ground by these children when they turned into the adults that would be the leaders of the country.
However, after more interactions and more conversations, my thoughts on their future flipped.
Though they walked and talked and interacted differently than what I was used to, they are still filled with big ideas and dreams, and hopes for the future. They are still amazing leaders with budding skills on how to work together as a team to accomplish tasks they need to be done. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and check out our past winner’s page for our scholarship. There are 7 OUTSTANDING students that noticed a problem in their community and set out to solve it, whether in a group or by themselves with a mentor’s help. And these are just the winners! I read through dozens and dozens of applications with similar drives to help their community in some way. There was not one single application that did not deserve some recognition for the work they were doing, they were all inspiring. So you can imagine, choosing a winner was very, very hard.
And this was just my interactions with high school-aged students applying for a scholarship. I’ve also been able to interact with the youth of my community through service in my church, as well as brief interactions with this age of kids in high schools. And yes, I will still always question why they are so into TikTok or why crop tops are the shirt of choice right now?? But the coolest thing about the human race is that we don’t all have to think, act, and dress alike to get along or understand one another.
These 14-18-year-olds are coming into our society with newfound knowledge of technology, social media, teamwork skills, and more than we as older generations cannot comprehend or will never know.
So, maybe we really don’t need to be worried about our future. Maybe this TikTok, crop top generation has a thing or two to teach us about life.