Letter: Let’s slow down for our youth | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Let’s slow down for our youth

Let’s slow down for our youth

Big kudos to Katie Hankinson and Hailey Swirbul of Basalt High School. On March 12, they each had an article in the enclosed Longhorn Roundup, the high school paper. Each writer had an article addressing the problems of stress and fear present in our young people of today. They each expressed fantastic insight and wisdom beyond their years, as they addressed the problems of dealing with heavy schedules, pressures in their studies, the reality of peer pressure, keeping up with social-media connections, as well as recent school shootings and several teen suicides.

Very few adults are capable of truly understanding and empathizing with the problems of our young people as they struggle to keep their heads above water in this competitive, fast-moving, pressure-filled society that’s being handed to them.

Our young people are in the time of discovery, learning new lessons and gaining information, yes, but also learning who they are as human beings. It’s a fragile time in life. How can they take time to dream and envision, to deal with their emotions that change every day, to understand those emotions and to define for themselves how they can fit into the insane world that is being handed to them? They don’t have the time!

These two writers have it right when they talk about teen stress, fears and the adult society they find themselves inhabiting. We all, as parents and educators, need to slow down our own lives, look within ourselves so we can know and understand our own world before we can help our young people cope with their challenges. Our young people are frightened, confused and angry about the world before them, and those who are less equipped to handle difficulty are acting out in violent ways because they see nothing but a bleak future.

It’s surprising that more of our young people don’t fall apart under the pressure. It’s not fair to them that school has to be so competitive, test-oriented and task-filled; and it starts in the middle school years. How can our young people find emotional stability under those stressful conditions? We have become a nation driven by competition to be the best in every “doing,” rather than being the best in our humanity. That means to be peace-filled, emotionally stable, kind and loving toward others and above all happy within one’s self.

Let’s all learn from these wise young women and just take a break in our lives. Get off the treadmill of life and look within at our own inner anxieties and what might be causing them. Fear is always the opposite of love and our society is full of fear. Let’s put more love into today’s world as we move through the 21st century. We’re all together in this world and we all affect one another. Change to love, peace and happiness for self and others.

Lollie Schweitzer


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