I was supremely moved by a guest essay in a local magazine last week. It offered six essays from high schoolers who had interned with the magazine New Trier Quintessential over the summer. While all of the essays were thought-provoking and well-written, one in particular by current junior, Jennifer Prohov, felt profound beyond her years. It especially resonated with me because it very much related to my own blogs and posts last week about our current culture and seeking to create new ways to uplift and inspire one another, collectively.
Beyond my public expressions last week, I also shared some wonderfully deep exchanges privately with others who shared my simultaneous love for all that we are as a culture AND ideas on what we could be doing better. These are no doubt exciting times. Change is in the air and people are talking. There’s a feeling that individually we are going to have to make conscious choices that reflect what is in our individual hearts to change our world. I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Obviously, as a young woman who desires to speak her truth with both passion and compassion (a perfect blend if you ask me), Jennifer mimics this belief in the final paragraph of her essay:
“My generation has to confront the mass culture we have created and change it for the better. Our parents and grandparents demanded change, but through legislation. We won’t be able to achieve the same kind of change. We have to confront popular culture, not politicians. The question that scares me is: how do you change a popular culture that has so much control over what your generation becomes?”
Yes, WOWZER! The truth of what this teenager has the courage to share truly astounds me. What a valuable question for us all to ponder, not in a political way, but in deeply personal and intimate soul kinda way. Earlier in the essay she also states, “The issues that plague our society aren’t really legislative anymore. We can’t really make that many more laws to deal with them. They’re cultural…We can’t demand they change the way we think. WE have to do that.”
I couldn’t agree more or say it any better myself. For someone at this age to have this level of clarity, as well as the capacity to articulate it in such a compelling way, is what really excited me. I read the passage to my husband and children with a big smile on my face. With young people like this in our world, it is my firm belief, that we will be able to hold on to what is positive and life-enhancing in our society, and ultimately, release what no longer serves the higher good of both individuals and our culture as a whole. And, the two most definitely go hand-in-hand when viewed from an aerial perspective. But to do so, we adults, are going to have to be as thoughtful, clear-sighted and forthcoming as this beautiful soul.
Perhaps we should create space for our young to speak UP and out more often. Clearly, they have much to offer as we find our way to greener pastures for ALL…
# # #
A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book “Soul to Soul Parenting” won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award.