I know a remarkable young woman living in Glen Williams who answered the call to ‘get your hippie on’ and help in the cause to make sure our Hamlet grows in a just and thoughtful manner. Her name is Emily Jenkins. I was privileged to spend a Sunday morning with Emily who, equipped with camera and an acumen for photography helped to produce photos of Glen Williams used in the Glen Williams Community Association meeting regarding a controversial development being proposed for the hamlet. That day, as on many others, Emily amazed and delighted me with her strong community mindedness. She’s always busy thinking, musing and curious about one thing or another. Emily is growing into one extraordinary human being and I for one am grateful for time spent with her.
And while not to diminish the well-deserved spotlight shining on my young friend there is a reason I have shared knowledge of her with you and it is this…there are Emilies all around us. Young people who are interested and interesting. Kids who have grown up in a different world from us, away from the conventions and boundaries that we have found comfort in defining others and ourselves. To engage with them you must be prepared for a shift in your thinking. If you are lucky, one of these remarkable young people will plant themselves in your garden for a time on their way to adulthood. You may be surprised to find they do more to cultivate the best in you rather than the opposite being true.
Whenever anyone starts to complain about the youth of today or to revel in remarks of ‘When I was young’ as a way to belittle present day adolescence I get a little – lets say a lot – defensive on behalf of young folks. Kids are kids. They have been and will be for the rest of time, testing boundaries set by generations before them and finding new and maddening ways to define their particular generation as different and unique to those from which they sprouted. Nothing new or earth shattering about that. This spring there will be a new crop of human fauna. Some perhaps donning colourful hair spiked in spires to the sky or an abundance of outlandish cascading clothes … or a lack of an abundance of clothes of any description parading on mass alongside our favourite May flowers. Truth be told instead of breaking expected dress codes, you are more likely to find kids rebelling by taking up knitting or sewing or maybe cooking a gourmet family meal in the kitchen. All facets of life that where at one time those things that WE ourselves rebelled against when our parents tried to get us interested in ‘productive’ pursuits. What a hoot. With all of us running about in our mad dash to acquire and attain – young people are opting for simpler values, smaller homes, smaller cars and much more social interaction. Hmmmm… who needs the parental guidance in this scenario? Just askin’.
Needless to say, “The Kids Are Alright.”