These kids. They’re self-possessed narcissists addicted to screens. They are the worst. If they’re our future - we’re all screwed. Everyone knows this and everyone always has. The youth have threatened to usher in cultural apocalypse since forever. We are quite willing to believe that our generation may be the last decent people in history. The news is that we are not original.
Socrates called it 500 years before Jesus made the scene when he said, “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love to chatter in place of exercise.”
Thanks for inventing Western philosophy, but we’ll take it from here. I believe the kids will innovate in ways we can’t yet imagine. We are experiencing a paradigm shift in our collective perspective on the world. We are thinking different and our daughters are leading us. In California, there are a bunch of teenage girls, Teens for Safe Cosmetics, who have taken on some of the biggest personal care companies in the world for knowingly exposing people to toxic chemicals. Teenaged science fair winners, Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, have discovered a way to use bacteria to break down toxic compounds called phthalates, found in personal care products and plastics that are directly linked to reproductive, kidney, and liver problems. Turning Green is a global student-led movement started by teenagers to encourage people to make environmentally conscience and healthy product choices. These young leaders are taking on an industry that has been causing illness and disease for decades.
The world will hand these kids the timeless treasures of humanitarian crisis, global pandemics, environmental disasters, social ills, and they will have to do what every generation before has done: innovate and persevere. They may take shortcuts but they can be wickedly efficient. They don’t accept the status quo and they are up for the challenge. It’s time to admit that we may not be the gold standard for all humanity folks. We’ve got the wisdom, they’ve got the way. I am in this project I call ms.fresh for the game changers who know that healthy is beautiful and smart and strong. For our daughters - some like glitter and some like dirt - both come out in the wash; it’s what inside that endures. Let them know what maybe we didn’t so they can make the choices that will empower them to fill their world with all the good things. To our aging parents who made their own waves, to us seasoned grown-ups willing to adapt to new ideas, to the energized millennials, who are raising their kids - I love that we’re embracing knowledge and change. To those brave little warriors, impatient and confident, you will be one day be the choice makers when your noisy hands and curious brains jump off the playground and into this world we give - you are our heroes and you don’t even know it yet.