I can’t tell if it’s only at the middle school where I teach or if this is one of those larger “kids these days” shifts that represents a change in the greater whole, but lately it seems like it’s considered socially uncool to be a “do-gooder.”
Just last week, after I heard one student mention how she had volunteered to pick up trash off a stretch of highway with her church group, her classmates basically snubbed her off as if she was doing it just to be a kiss-up. Another student mentioned what her Girl Scout troop had accomplished at the local animal shelter, and she also was on the receiving end of a few negative remarks. The general attitude of many adolescents seems to be that either 1) they are not thinking of themselves as being able to make a difference in the world around them, or 2) they realize the positive impact they could make, but don’t care enough to do something about it.
At many high schools (including at the two in my town), it is necessary for students to have logged a certain number of community service hours as part of their graduation requirements. Not having enough hours = no diploma for you. I have heard several of my 8th graders say things along the lines of how “stupid” that was. Since when are helping and contributing to society stupid? How is knowing that you’re positively making a difference in someone’s life or in the environment ever a bad or “uncool” thing? If you’re not already out there doing something positive that benefits more than just your own interests, I challenge you to get up, get out there, and do something that matters. Even small things do make a difference.
You can start right now. One of Miss Unlimited’s own Teen Columnists is taking small steps towards making a difference in a BIG way. Ellie is in the process of making her organization Speak Now an officially-recognized non-profit. In Ellie’s words:
Speak Now is a non-profit geared towards giving voice to young women, and was started by a young woman who believes that everyone has a voice. You are all absolutely beautiful. Help us teach young women around the world how to believe just that. Be bold.
Right now, Ellie has a goal for Speak Now’s Facebook page to reach 1,000 Likes. For each Like, private donors will give 10 cents to a homeless teen shelter in Ellie’s city. Accomplishing this goal will pave the way for larger contributions to further Speak Now’s efforts. Please Like Speak Now on Facebook and help spread the word.
Remember–you can make a difference. Get out there and do something good.