Dear Readers: What's wrong with the world? How can we improve it? Here is Part II of the panel's vision for 2010.
As I said last week, the Millennial Generation are old souls when it comes to understanding root causes and psychological processes — and knowing that lasting change springs from within. They care deeply for each other, their parents and "the other" — probably more than any other generation. Kurt Andersen, in his book "Reset," says that if Millennials can "keep their sense of entitlement in check, they might just turn out to be the next Greatest Generation." That I can believe.
Vanessa, 21, Galt: If decency and good manners were everyday things, people wouldn't take their lives so often. When you must work to survive, and are stuck, due to high unemployment, in a job where clients are rude or bosses are mean, more rudeness after work from a clerk or the driver who cuts you off, can add up. Then there's high school. Goodness, why can't students walk down the halls without people yelling names at them and telling them to kill themselves? Sometimes I wonder how this world still spins.
Akasha, 16, Gold River: Let's stop the trend of pessimism and negativity. Many people do nothing to better themselves and the world, they just complain and expect others to solve things.
Katelyn, 15, Huntington Beach: Politically, last year, we made verbal wars over abortion and same-sex marriage, painting fellow citizens on either side as bigots and hate-mongers, abandoning all morality and common sense in our attempts.
Socially, we paralyzed the teen population in a vicious cycle of drugs/alcohol and sex — with apathy toward both — even as we've seen the consequences over and over in literally hundreds of thousands of deaths, not counting the unborn slaughtered.
Are we one nation under God, or one nation gone under?
Graham, 16, Fair Oaks: We spend endlessly on war — and almost nothing on the true global problems of poverty and hunger.
Farren, 22, Redding: Ghandi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." Here are mine.
Don't join a political protest if you haven't examined the subject! Last year's political protests were about lies, manipulation, and scare tactics — and people fell for them. Most didn't educate themselves and instead joined the spewing masses of other ignorant people. Saddest part: people spewing unexamined beliefs onto their children creating a vicious cycle.
Media, schools and parents get an F in sex-education. They basically condone having children at 15. Telling teenagers to just abstain, to ignore their body chemistry, is ludicrous. Most teens raising children are doing so in poverty — and poverty is the biggest indicator that people will make choices that drain society. Stop using the Bible as birth control. Condoms work better.
Why are people still texting and using their cell phones while driving? They put everyone in danger. You're lucky until you're not. Until you multi-task in your car and kill someone. Quit being stupid.
Schools are a mess. Sure they lack money, but school is not daycare. It doesn't get parents out of teaching their children to be respectful, thoughtful, educated beings. Values, life-lessons, morals should come from home and be cemented at school, not the reverse. If you don't have time to raise children, don't have them.
To ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalkforteens.com or write P.O. Box 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.