Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thank you Bob Herbert and David Brooks

As I begin to see light in my refrigerator again and continue to clean and put away dishes, I am thankful for the chaos and mess that my children have wrought. And for my dishwasher that keeps on purring.

I am also grateful for articulate people in positions of power who speak out for our children. In today's New York Times, Bob Herbert waxes poetic about the innocent joys of children watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And he admonishes the adult world for continuing to tolerate a society that is unfair to the disadvantaged, that engages in "stupid" wars, and that perpetuates a "hideously dysfunctional" education system.

On the PBS Newshour on Wednesday night, David Brooks struck a more hopeful but less specific note when he closed the hour by mentioning how grateful we can be for young people under thirty in our country. He noted how many wonderful, creative and laudable activities they are all engaged in. And he reminded us that in these times of reflection about where our country is going and what our values ought to be that these kids are out in front.

In my family and professional circle, I know of countless young people who are looking to the Peace Corps, Teach for America and the military;engaging in internships in all manner of health care and education institutions; providing low or no cost legal and medical services to the poor; and seeking work across the globe. A few years ago Brooks coined the term "the odyssey generation" for these college grads who may wander, switch, experiment, question, turn around, and seek their paths. They are surfing the globe in search of the best mix of work, play, contribution and meaning.

I feel blessed by their optimism, agility, and ability to look at this complex world in a relatively directed way and work to see their way through.