The future is in good hands

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, May 26, 2018

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A long-standing national pastime is worrying what will happen to the country when it’s handed off to the next generation.

I know I helped produce my fair share of doubt on Generation X carrying the torch, while playing Super Mario Brothers and listening to a string of one-hit wonders instead of being productive.

Richard Greene

In recent years, I’ve occasionally joined the chorus mocking Millennials, who seemed to be blamed for everything under the sun from declining TV numbers to lagging sales in department stores. They are being credited with an uptick in RV sales.

I have to throw in, my favorite sign along a recent marathon route was: “Run like Millennials from commitment.”

While getting in a few jabs, I do try to put myself in the shoes of Millennials to understand the world they encounter with sky-rocketing college tuitions, crushing student loan debt and soaring real estate prices. Yes, there are jobs for them, but paychecks have not grown accordingly.

Moving past Millennials to the upcoming Generation Z. First, I don’t really approve of tight pants or much of the music. Are you to blame for Florida Georgia Line?

But as a new crop of Gen Zers leave high school to head to college, the military, technical schools or to join the workforce, you’ve already won my admiration.

During my niece’s graduation Tuesday, the reality of the world in which you’ve grown up hit me. You’ve truly never known a day without the threat of terrorism, and we’ve been involved in a war since you were old enough to remember anything.

You’ve attended school each day as the number of school shootings around the country multiplied. The three deadliest school shootings have all occurred since you’ve started school – Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Parkland, Fla.

This past year, you’ve raised your voices and demanded action and called upon leaders to provide protections, even as some tried to belittle your efforts.

In my niece’s case, you finished high school, while your teachers struggled for support from the Oklahoma Legislature to do the job they loved. You then joined them in their fight and maybe most incredibly of all, now some of you, knowing the struggles, are planning to join the education field to help the next generation.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ve dealt with a constant bombardment of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and things I’m too old to know about – and somehow stayed focused enough to get to this point.

Many of you already have enough hours to be sophomores in college as you leave high school, and some already have an associate degree. Now, you want to do jobs I’ve never heard of.

While all this would lead to dread and worry for me, you are somehow positive and confident moving forward. You still dream of making the world a better place no matter the trials ahead.

As long as you can find some better music, I feel pretty good about our future with you in charge.

Now, get off my lawn!

Richard Greene is the editor of the Messenger. Congrats to Addison Hobson and the rest of the Class of 2018. Best of luck.

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