Youth need role models to lift them up
Students and other young people have been protesting the election of President-elect Donald J. Trump. Many of their objections are worthy of discussion, as throughout his quest he has alienated many young voters because of various utterances. I hope the enormity of the presidency will temper him in a way that all Americans will conclude that he is trying to make their lives better.
It is important that young Americans do not become disillusioned. They are the future and how we as adults conduct ourselves will go a long way toward whether or not we continue to be a source of good in this world.
Let us face it, folks — when we were young, we also had good and bad times. As adults, we conjure up some of these instances. Unfortunately, if you are like me, the bad memories have a way of surfacing.
One of my most hurtful memories occurred in the mid-1950s. I lived in a poor neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C. In order to help my family out, I worked as a newspaper boy. Times were tough. However, I was a resilient teenager, and summers proved to be a time where baseball became a source of great joy. I was a decent baseball player, even though old sneakers and a ratty baseball glove were my sporting fare.
At that time, there was the CYO baseball league, where kids 16 and under were asked to try out. I remember going to tryouts, where I was the only second baseman practicing for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, our coach said that on the following Monday he would hand out the uniforms.
The following Monday at practice I noticed a new ballplayer adorned with an expensive baseball glove and shiny baseball cleats. The coach began passing out uniforms and, needless to say, I was cut. I later learned from my friend who made the team that this guy who played second base in high school could not make the practices, as he and his family were on vacation. There is no doubt in my mind that this kid possessed better baseball skills. However, it did not diminish the pain and anguish of knowing that the coach had used me as a secondhand rose.
President-elect Trump has an obligation to honorably represent all of us. It is important that the young have role models that will help them become responsible adults. For God’s sake, let us not rain on their parade.
Finally, whether you are a president, public servant, teacher, coach, parent or, for that matter, any other adult who has influence over the young, please be aware that your positive or negative dealings with them will leave an everlasting effect on them throughout their adulthood.
Folks, in dealing with our youth, will you serve them well? After all, we are the people. John Petralia, Sunderland