I cannot write a post about things that concern me about the next generation without flipping the coin and following up with reasons I’m thankful for the next generation. The characteristics below are things I have observed in my classroom this year, and while they may not be characteristic of all students, these observed behaviors have not been seen in just one or two students but in several. So in no particular order, here are Top Ten Things I am Thankful to see in the Next Generation.
1 – Students know how to live in community. I think students are better about this than adults because we are so busy. Maybe it’s just me; maybe you’re not busy and have plenty of time for friends. I see students making time to spend with friends and need to take a lesson from them and do this more often.
2 – Students are not afraid to try new things. Whether it be listening to a different type of music or trying different ethnic foods, students are willing to break out of routine and do different things.
3 – Students walk courageously through difficult circumstances. I am amazed at how many of my students are dealing with health or family issues making life hard, yet instead of buckling under trials, they use them as motivation to rise above and be better. Again, I am amazed by strong students like Robyn.
4 – Students are unafraid to live a life of faith. I see students on a daily basis praying for each other, encouraging each others and living out their faith in spite of recent events in our community.
5 – Students dream big. I love not only hearing how students want to change their world but watch them take steps to position themselves to do so. I have a current student who watches Meet the Press weekly because he wants to be a politician and another who writes daily because she wants to be a writer (which means she’s actually already a writer).
6 – Students are voracious readers. I am always sharing what I read with students and have a steady stream of students – from my highest to lowest level readers in AP and 9th grade – reading books from the school or my classroom library. I have spent more money than I should on Thriftbooks ordering sequels and graphic novels this year, and this is money well spent. (The last clause is for the hubs).
7 – Students are fun and funny.
8 – Students are loyal to their family. Students can talk bad about their parents or siblings, but they better not hear anyone else doing so.
9 – Students are accepting of each other. While adults debate whether lifestyle choices are correct or not, I see students love and befriend others who may be different from themselves. This reminds me of the way Jesus lived but not necessarily the way a lot of Christians live today.
10 – Students really do want adults to be present in their lives. It may not be their teacher or their parent, but most students are looking for someone to take an interest in them.
Why are you thankful for the next generation and what can you do to invest in them?