I have a nephew who has just left for the Virgin Islands to work for a few months. Another nephew is moving with his wife to Honduras soon to work for an NGO. Yet another nephew is thinking he will probably go to college in Liverpool, England. I have a niece who lives in New York City even though she has no blood related family nearby. One of my good friends has a niece who plans to move her family to Africa in the next few years. Another young couple with whom I am acquainted has already done a tour with the Peace Corps in Africa and has had another job in Costa Rica.
I am perplexed by, yet envious of, these twenty-and-thirty- somethings who are so brave and who are willing to step off into adventures without the security of extended family or childhood friends. For heaven’s sake, I was so homesick and lonely when I went to Abilene to go to college that I came back and finished college in Canyon, where I grew up. And they almost speak the same language in Abilene as in Canyon! Then it took me two years to get over the trauma of moving from Amarillo to Fort Worth and I was thirty and had two kids by the time that happened. As I was growing up I barely knew anyone who had traveled overseas, much less lived there.
Young people have a very different relationship to the world than my generation had. They feel a global responsibility that never occurred to me. They have created circles of friends and surrogate families which provide support and care. They also provide support and care not only to their circle of friends, but to a great many strangers. They feel genuine concern about the citizens of the world. My concerns when I was thirty involved how many square feet could our mortgage provide and where would I find a good hairdresser in the new neighborhood. These young heroes are maintaining power grids, planting trees in deserts, teaching the poor and healing the sick.
Many other young relatives I haven’t mentioned are staying closer to home and family and have chosen careers of community service. They have taken on responsibility for parents, family and community far beyond their years. I am so very proud to know these men and women. I have great hope for our communities, our nation and our world as their generation assumes the seats of power.
God Bless Them All.