“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young”
1 Timothy 4:12
Of all the despicable responses to the kids of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the one that ranks pretty high on my list goes to those who wanted to convince everyone that the news reports used actors to portray those kids. For those folks to believe that high school students don’t have enough brain matter, courage and desire to put words together in sentences that show how much they care is horrendous to me. These young people are somehow discovering they have voices that could be used for something more than pep rally cheers and classroom recitation. I listened to “leaders”, business owners, older people who question how pep rally cheerleading and classroom recitation can amount to much and want us to believe that whatever these kids are saying had to have been quoted to them by the “liberal” side of things. The kids could not ever have an original thought about anything so serious. I kind of think we rely on that old phrase “children should be seen and not heard” just so we will always know who is in charge.
On many social levels, those among the 18- to 40-year-old generation are among the missing from traditional ways to respond to life. There have been way too many times when they have been belittled because they have a different perspective on life and do not want to do it “our way”. Thus their absence is becoming even more noticeable. Yes, they reject the tried and true which a lot of us hold so dear. But consider—-how well is all that working for us?
The brain of an adolescent is still forming and impulse control is often the last to develop, but we older folks have the experience and understanding and can be strong guides for that formation to go in all the right ways. Helping them to see how violent acts truly solve very little or how important mutual respect can be in life are lessons they will not forget. We have responsibilities to them every day.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace have developed strategies for our Catholic high schools that will create environments where students and teachers can grow in peace. Let us pray for our young people every day.