OPINION: These Kids Today

by Brian Ricca

These kids today are continuing to impress and inspire me more and more.

This week my fifth grade son came home on Tuesday and shared that he volunteered to be a part of a conversation at his school about safety issues. I was awed.

I remember fifth grade at Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon, NY where I grew up. I remember Mrs. Helen DelVecchio, my fifth grade teacher. I remember some of my classmates in the 1984–1985 school year. I don’t remember volunteering to be a part of a conversation about school safety.

Granted, at that time, school safety was limited to fire drills. We had a set of loud bells that would ring twice, with regularity until we all exited the building entirely. I remember being so “inspired” by fire safety that I actually made my entire family practice a fire drill from our home.

What is happening today is nothing short of transformative.

Our students are continuing to teach us. They are teaching us about civic responsibility. They are teaching us about courage. They are teaching us about democracy. They are teaching us to stand up for what we believe. They are teaching us about respect. They are teaching us about discomfort. They are teaching us about the growth mindset.

Yes, they are too attached to their phones and devices. But so are we as adults.

Yes, they are over scheduled and stretched too thin at times. But so are we as adults.

Yes, they are overwhelmed and struggling with how to make their way in the world. But so are we as adults.

And they are leading us by their example.

These kids today are to be lauded. These kids today are to be recognized. These kids today are to be commended.

These kids today need to know we love them. These kids today need to know we are proud of them. These kids today need to know we have their backs.

Damn kids…

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