GratiTuesday: The Young and the Restless

I imagine that just about every older generation looks at the younger ones nipping at their heels and wonders if they have the skills and fortitude to run the world one day. Are they too selfish? Unfocused? Lazy? Have they been sheltered too much or have their lives been made too easy? Are they overly obsessed with their status on social media? Will they be able to take the reins when the time comes for them to pick up where we left off?

I wish I could say that my generation has done a better job during our tenure. Sadly, the environment is in deep trouble, violence and conflict are seemingly everywhere and never-ending, and the chasm between the haves and have-nots is widening. We will be leaving them with a bit of a mess.

Yes, you are.

Two observations these last few weeks have given me a reason for hope: seeing the optimism of the young athletes who took part in the Olympics and following the focused passion of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I am grateful to see young people who are energized, who reject societal inequalities, and who see the urgent need to protect our environment. They are concerned and they are restless, and they understand that sitting down and shutting up is not an option.

If they are indicative of the generation coming up, I think we are in good hands.


My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

60 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: The Young and the Restless”

  1. Amen, Janis. It’s easy to complain about the younger generation, but complaining has been true of every older generation since the beginning of time.
    There’s a lot to clean up. I’m with you in appreciating anyone of any age who is willing to step forward with optimism, hope, and a willingness to act.

    1. It seems like there has been a feeling of relief among us older peeps that these young people are pushing back so forcefully. I am so sad that we can’t seem to protect them, but they are not backing down in the face of power. I, for one, plan to be right alongside them at the March for Our Lives rally on March 24th.

  2. Hi, Janis – I love this post and its focus on trust and optimism. I also love Karen’s word to describe the new generation, “Fierce”. It gives me hope….and we still have time to work together!

  3. Totally agree that the Marjary Stoneman student activists are totally amazing! i wish I had such passion and presence when I was their age. Gives me hope for the future of this country and I hope some will go into politics and bring some sanity to it all. I cringed when the anchor Joy (AM Joy) referred to them as “kids”; I think they are more adult than most adults I know. What a way to grow up quickly- so much for childhood innocence…

    1. You are right, to call them “kids” demeans them and their anger. They are young, but they are taking on what many much older adults have sadly been silent about. The greatest gift we can give them is to march with them and show them that we hear them and support them. Thank you for your comment!

  4. I share your optimism and have seen the same potential for greatness these past couple of weeks. Marjory Stoneman Douglas is less than two hours South of my home in South Florida and I know that community well. I was not surprised at the sense of urgency on behalf of the students to get the message out about gun control and school violence. I was also not surprised at their ability to articulate remedies and vow to hold elected officials accountable – that’s Parkland. What a brave, focused group of young people. Maybe there is hope for the future after all.

    1. If you see any of these amazing students face-to-face, give them a big hug for me! Hopefully, with their mad social media skills, their message and passion are being shared across the country. I am hoping that, now that the students are beginning to realize their true power, they will keep it going. Many of them will be voters soon.

  5. Yes! What a fantastic post in this recent climate. It lifts the spirits. There is hope again, and I had/have the same sentiments as you, seeing those students stand up and take action. Maybe positive change is coming after all? Let’s hope so.

  6. Really enjoyed this post as well as the comments. Everything I would have said has been said! I feel confident that these young adults won’t be silenced and have only just begun to realize their strength and what they are capable of accomplishing. Yes, we’re leaving them a mess, but I truly believe they will rally, keep growing in number, and together come up with remedies for real change.

    1. Seeing how these young students (really young… I think about how I was at 14 or 15… could I have done that?) are comporting themselves is really amazing and uplifting. I do pledge to them that I will support them as much as I can. Thank you for your comment!

  7. When we are tempted to criticize youth, let us remember that complaining about the younger generation is as old as ancient Greece. Socrates is supposed to have stated that “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

    1. Haha! I bet we could find similar concerns throughout history. Each generation is brought up a little differently, they have different life experiences, and they are affected by what is happening in their world. It seems that, in many ways, they are being uniquely prepared for the future they face.

  8. I rarely complain about the younger generation. In fact, corny as it is to say, I often think of Whitney Houston singing: “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” If nothing else, the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are fulfilling those lyrics. Bless them all.

  9. Peter, I love the quote you included! I’m beyond hopeful about the actions taken by these young people, and am so happy you have written about them! I write about the Millennials constantly, and plan to follow their progress through the issues we have left for them to solve!

    1. I love that quote too! Just goes to show that complaining about younger generations isn’t new. I guess the students aren’t Millennials, right? Some call them “iGen” or “Gen Z” (who comes up with these names?)… whatever they are called, they – and the Millennials – give me a lot of hope for the future.

  10. Janis, it is invigorating. These kids are more accepting of diversity and environmental issues. Their speaking up on the gun issue is a turning point. Just today, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they will no longer sell AR15s or any gun to someone less than age 21. Legislators are too scared to act, so it will take a push from companies. If the legislators do not act this time or pass window dressing changes, they do so at their own peril. Keith

      1. Janis, Walmart just announced the move to age 21. While a directionally good change, it will be an easier one for the GOP to follow. As more retailers, investors and businesses announce changed, they will drag the reluctant legislators along. The kids are causing this momentum. Keith

  11. I admire the passion and commitment of these young people – they are showing great courage. Extreme events have brought that out in them, but even in ordinary, everyday circumstances the young people I meet (almost) all give me hope.

  12. What I’m absolutely struck by is the poise they’ve Parkland students have all shown. I can only look back at myself when I was there age to know I never had nearly as much. To me it’s indicative of a generation forced to grow up way too fast. But if that’s the case, I’m grateful they’re able to be so clear and authentic. – Marty

    1. I think you have hit on something. The bad news is that they have been forced to grow up too fast, but the “adult” qualities they have acquired have allowed them to have great impact. I didn’t have nearly that much self-confidence at that age (I still don’t 🙂 ).

  13. I think it’s so easy for us “oldies” to criticize younger generations, because we don’t see them doing things the way we did things, and so we conclude they are wrong about everything. But each and every generation has its good points and its bad points, I think, and if we want to feel hopeful about the future, we need to take a good look at the good points of today’s young adults. Thanks for doing that!

  14. I think that these young students taking action and making their voices heard are playing such an important role in the nation today. My greatest hope is that they are able to sustain the effort and energy that will be required to have long term impact and hopefully change. It will not be easy. It never is.

    This is such an interesting post as we all, in our generation, suddenly find ourselves as the older generation looking at the young ones… And historically it seems older generations as you point out typically are critical and harsh when looking at those coming up in the wings. But if we look back and remember that we too were criticized and that long term this is the least helpful approach to change.. and that if we support them however we can, we can only be hopeful. We can all start by being vocal about the companies that support the NRA.

    Thank you for a thoughtful and timely post.

    Peta & Ben

  15. Your words ring so true –
    Finally, a palpable ‘changing of the guard.’ I’m proud of these students, but not proud of the reasons behind the desperate need for change.
    Hubby says this is their Vietnam…and they’re rising to the challenge.

  16. I totally agree, Janis. I can’t wait to see my young-adult daughters and their generation take over. They will inject a lot of energy, technical expertise, environmental awareness, racial compassion, and great ideas to our society.

  17. I taught high school for 37 years(just retired) and many of my students give me hope. They are passionate, caring and way more aware than I was at their age.

  18. I can only pray for the next generation. However, our time is still upon us. We can still make an impression in this world. Whether good or bad (hopefully good) we still got what it takes to light the way.

    1. You are right, all of us are in this together and need to support one another. Passing the torch (when that happens) doesn’t mean that we get to sit down and watch, we still need to make our voices and passions heard. Thanks for the comment!

  19. Janis, I just realized that I am no longer receiving your posts. For some reason, WP dropped me from following you!
    I’m glad I have you back.

    I was greatly encouraged by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I hope their passion, their anger, their fierceness doesn’t gradually fade away.

    1. Wow, I wonder how that happened? I imagine your life was a little less shiny without my weekly nonsense 🙂 I also hope the kids keep it up. There is suppose to be a big march in support of sensible gun regulations on March 24 which we plan to attend. Fingers crossed.

  20. Janis, I am speechless at yet another school shooting. I feel the same way about it as I do about Trump’s antics — these things are so bizarre and unreasonable that there is really nothing polite or reassuring that one can say. That it falls to children to be the voices of reason makes me very sad.


  21. It’s so true that the older generation invariably feels that the younger is ungrateful and careless. They’re usually wonderful, think of yourself at that age – you were doing the best you could, and so are they.

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