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Friday, March 03, 2006

What's the matter with kids today?

Those of us of a certain age recall a song from the musical Bye Bye Birdie (originally a Broadway show starting in 1959, subsequently a movie): “What’s the matter with kids today?” The song was written 48 years ago, but of course the lyrics still work in 2006. Its impact in the late ’50s and early ’60s came about in part from its timelessness: while our parents might be uttering this complaint about their baby-boomer children, we knew perfectly well that their parents must have had similar complaints about them.

And now, of course, in the ’00s we once again hear adults — parents, teachers, politicians, etc. — producing the same sentiment. But those who think that all teens today are irresponsible, selfish, and uncooperative should try being a fly on the wall at the meetings of our Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC), a committee of Weston High School administrators, faculty, and students. At this month’s PAC meeting, three separate groups of high-school students delivered proposals for different activities. The specific proposals don’t matter here; what matters is that the presenters and the student PAC members were so genuinely concerned, thoughtful, articulate, and responsible. Maybe they’re not typical, but listening to them would certainly restore one’s faith in “kids today.”

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