Someone to Admire

This week I’ve had a couple of odd experiences with my writing. 1) I awoke on Tuesday and wrote four haiku before even getting out of bed! 2) I started a revision of my poem “Red” which is really focused on the emotion of anger and want it to be more positive. I did not plan to revise it when I did – the words just popped into my head, and 3) I awoke this morning wondering if kids today have anyone that is deserving of their admiration – other than their parents.

We live in a world when mistakes are very public. We have doctors, superintendents of school districts, police, and football stars all making grievous mistakes and they are immediately public. Instead of waiting for the nightly news, you can tap your phone for instant access and reaction to these offenses.

I once asked my garden club students what a legend was and if they knew of any. Their answers were not what I was looking for and, in some cases, surprised me. I was looking for Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyon, Pecos Bill, and others I had been introduced to in my childhood. The students did not know these “characters” other than those who had “heard” of Johnny Appleseed. Apparently, the common core left little time to cover the tall tales of these once essential characters. I was, and still am, sad about this.

But, I’m more concerned about the constant exposure of our youth to those in leadership or authority positions – those we looked up to when I was a child fifty years ago – and some of their heinous deeds. Who is left for children to look up to? I know there are good people in our communities, but rarely do they get the press that the “bad apples” do. And, as a parent, it has become hard to shield your child from these criminal or at least despicable adult acts that occur by people that your child might admire. Do they still admire them after the news has made us aware of their unconscionable acts? Probably, and that, too, is a problem.

This is a heavy question for a sunny Saturday morning and one that does not have a quick answer. I’ve always worried about our youth – youth other than my own – when it comes to their growth and development. Positive influences and someone for our children to admire and look up to are essential for them to become productive, contributing members of society. I just hope they can find someone worth their admiration. The pickin’s are slim.

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