Youth need role mod­els to lift them up

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

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