I'd like to respond with another anecdote to the recent letter titled, "As It Should Be But Is Not,"
Recently, I, and some others (none of us so young anymore) were moving a friend to a new apartment in town. We had filled the truck after a long morning of carrying things from the old place and were then standing in front of the new apartment building anticipating how long it would take us to carry it all up to the third floor.
At one time this wouldn't have seemed so daunting but, as I mentioned, none of us were as young as we once were, so we were resting with more enthusiasm than energy.
Down the sidewalk came a group of young people laughing and pushing and taking up the sidewalk. They were high school students and a few were wearing Jim Thorpe hoodies.
One young man asked what we were doing. One in our group pointed to the van and then the apartment so far above us. The young man nodded and rejoined his group.
Seconds later, the whole gang was at the back of the van picking up furniture, boxes and shelves. They rushed up the stairs some two at a time, competing for space and rushing right past my friends and I, in our slow slog up the stairs, were only in the way and they told us to just delegate, which we gladly did.
Those young men and women had the van unloaded and unpacked in 15 minutes, then regrouped on the sidewalk to move on.
My friend, whose apartment it was, was so impressed that she sent me after the kids with money to at least buy pizza with. I caught up with them, thanked them again and pressed the bills into a young man's hand before running back to the idling truck. I could see them discussing the money among each other and hoped it was enough.
Seconds later the group came back up the street and approached me. The young man returned the cash saying, "Thanks, but we all agree, this isn't why we did it."
Then they turned and continued laughing and joking up the sidewalk.
I'm always suspicious when I hear, "kids these days" type of stories, maybe because I was certainly not a model teen way back then; far from it. I think time and self-perception tends to put a golden glow on the past.
But I also think, yeah there are some kids (and parents) out there who could learn some lessons in citizenship and respect, but for every one of them, I meet 10 really fascinating, energetic and generous kids, even some society has given a bad rap to.