Drugs and screens and guns and increasing estrogen levels and politics and environmental issues and Moma and social media and apathy and racism and depression and bullying and on and on and on. Growing up in 2019 is tough but really, is it any tougher than any other time?
Watch the video again while looking at the kids. These are the kids who have been derailed from education, who have had some reason to fall off the “normal” path of high school. And look, they’re helping their nerdy teacher put up a sign for the Sonoma Film Festival in the community on a rainy day when they could be doing, well, anything else.
We have to start celebrating our kids, help make them feel connected to their environment, provide the guidance that only Sonoma can. They’re bored, and they need you to show them that the world is big and interesting and fun and adventurous and worth exploring and saving.
And they need to do it on their own. Because life is about trying and failing and trying again and we have created a society where it’s easy to try and fail and stop trying. They need to meet people who disagree with them and look different than them and celebrate these differences not run from them.
SVHS video teacher Peter Hansen has a great quote during an interview that played about a gazillion times during the film festival. He explains that he likes to watch the process of students being challenged and overcoming failure. Unfortunately this try–fail-try-again-philosophy is much harder than the current try-fail-give-up-watch-Netflix philosophy so popular today.
People always ask me what kids need, what is the solution to apathy/lack of focus/arrested development and I always say the same thing: Hard work, creativity and love. Simple until you realize that because of screen addiction the first two are prioritized less and less (my advice, go on a weeklong screen vacation and see how life changes). The third is really the key to everything, love people, love the earth, love yourself, just love. We will either learn this or hate will win and we will perish.
We have become America the nation of sycophants (No, I didn’t know the meaning either till my much smarter wife explained it to me). We are followers of important people and unfortunately some of those people are bat shit crazy. Kids are even worse because they are developing their sense of selves in a time when any nut job able to type or text or post a video can create a platform (course my platform is much different).
Eventually the kids will all grow up. Eventually they will find their paths. Eventually they find their villages. Some take more time than others, some have to wallow around in the excrement pool for longer and some seem to do all the right things right out of the gate but was my generation really any different? Not so much.
Want to help? Of course you do, you are a caring person and you would never be a helicopter parent or a bulldozer parent or pay for someone to Photoshop Johnnies face over someone else’s so they can get into college.
The best advice, live your life well and get out of the way.
Sure, set a high bar, help where you can, guide, coach, mentor, do all that stuff but really the most important thing is to create a world where the next generation is able to live a little bit better than the previous generation.
It’s called evolution and if you follow the news you know we are in trouble. When you play the long game and really think about your children’s children’s children you can’t help but decide that a clean, healthy, loving world is better than a dirty, sick, world full of hate.
The kids are all right.