Time with mil­len­ni­als

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

I opened the news­pa­per re­cently to yet an­other let­ter grip­ing about how spoiled and en­ti­tled to­day’s young peo­ple are. I’ve be­come con­vinced that those who com­plain the most about mem­bers of the younger gen­er­a­tion don’t spend mean­ing­ful time around them.

Just last week in my com­mu­nity, I stood on holy ground as a group of grief-stricken young peo­ple gath­ered to re­mem­ber an ex­cep­tional peer of theirs whose life had ended trag­i­cally. Most of these young peo­ple had just grad­u­ated from high school and have been busy plan­ning dorm rooms, clean­ing out their child­hood be­d­rooms, and pack­ing for col­lege.

But that day, they stopped to re­mem­ber a friend they will have to leave be­hind. For many of them, this was their first ex­cep­tional loss — one that was es­pe­cially cruel.

The young man’s friends pulled to­gether this beau­ti­ful trib­ute to him in a short pe­riod of time — ba­si­cally in a day.

I teach col­lege fresh­men and, ev­ery se­mes­ter, I en­counter 18-year-olds who are putting them­selves through school, car­ing for other fam­ily mem­bers, or al­ready rais­ing a child. Some of them have ex­pe­ri­enced things in their short lives that I can’t imag­ine even at 45. They in­spire me ev­ery day.

To­day’s young peo­ple are bright and op­ti­mistic. They are wickedly funny and make me laugh like no one else can. They are sin­cere. They love gen­uinely and grieve deeply.

Please stop with the hand-wring­ing. If our fu­ture is in this gen­er­a­tion’s hands, we will be fine. And blessed beyond mea­sure. DEANA NALL Bryant

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