During lunch at a community event, a casual conversation occurred between three high school honors seniors and three retired senior citizens. The students were eighteen and the retirees averaged seventy; a gap of over fifty years.
We retired seniors were describing what our youth had been like in the 1950ties. Mention was made that we played outside until the fire department whistle sounded curfew or the street lights came on at which time we went home without hesitation. One of us said that our parents rarely knew where we were during the day or exactly what we were doing. One of the high school seniors, speaking with a look of genuine disbelief on his face asked, “Weren’t you afraid?”
His question shook me when he asked it and has continued to bother me for several weeks. Where does a question like that come from? Kids shouldn’t be burdened by thoughts like that. How can we possibly reassure them? What can be done to relieve the fears they feel?
Before you read any further, know that I don’t have a clue. What I can tell you is that even hearing that question from a bright young person was heartbreaking.
We all hear the arguments on the evening news. Panels of “experts” (also without answers) say that gangs, drugs, single parent homes, the decline of religion, racism, guns, a sense of hopelessness, and a misguided education system are the causes. That is quite a list and if even a few items on it are true, we have a lot of recovery work ahead of us. We better get started