A few days ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop waiting for someone, minding my own business and drinking my second cup of morning coffee. I didn’t mean to listen in on the conversation of the two women sitting next to me, but they were talking loudly and well, you really couldn’t escape their conversation.
The women were going on and on about their children and the horrors ahead for our society with such self-centered children. “Who would be able to take leadership, and how would our country possibly run? What will the world look like in the future?” One woman began telling how her daughter is only interested in shopping, spending money and having fun. The other woman agreed and said that her son simply lived on the computer, coming out of his room at meal time. “I tell ya…these kids, I saw a young man this morning crossing the street with his pants hanging down…just terrible.” The other woman joined in saying, “And that pokemon go thing…I saw entire stadiums in Japan filled with kids completely fixated on those phones and now my son is doing it! Just frightening to think where we will find good leaders.”
Well, I can tell you that I had been gritting my teeth to keep from joining into their conversation. OK, so I saw some guys today with their pants hanging down and my grandsons play pokemon go as well and it’s true that some young people haven’t found themselves yet. But please, let’s not group the whole generation into one category!
Had I been willing to intrude, I would have told them about a young woman named Iris, a one-woman micro-lender that traveled alone to the Sudan to work with women in need. Perhaps, I should have told them of a young man named EJ working in Africa teaching villages about carbon credits and the impact on our world. Maybe I could have told them of a young entrepreneur named Bukekile who began a wedding dress rental business in South Africa to provide for her grandmother and cousins. And then there was Ryan who spent a year living in Uganda helping extremely poor women establish a microfinance and saving group.
Brian who traveled throughout Latin America to learn about the people, their cultures and needs so that he could be part of the solution to end poverty. Emily who spent summers working with school children in Gaza or Andy, a medical student who spent his time off working in a rural clinic in Haiti. Yongo in Kenya teaching his community about permaculture so that they can provide enough food for their communities, and there are so many others working to make a difference.
So in reality, I believe the next generation of global leaders may take the world to places that we could have never dreamed.
Thanks to technology, the youth of today have grown up with the globe at their fingertips. Someone in Nairobi can become friends with someone in Singapore or India, or anywhere which allows them to get to know each other. When we take time to get to know each other, it breaks down the walls of thinking we are so different. With the youth of today they have had the opportunity to see how alike we are and how powerful our actions can be to make the world a better place for all.
So, had my manners not been so perfect, I guess I would have simply said to the women, “Don’t worry, I think the future of our world is just fine…sleep well tonight because it’s truly in good hands”.