We all hear it at least once daily: young people in America are lazy, selfish, dependent upon their parents, unwilling to take risks, unambitious. Stories galore abound about parents who fight their children’s battles in academics, complete their job application forms, or even go to employment interviews with them!
But these stories are likely told and retold because they are so bizarre and unusual. And I think that’s the real truth: they are rare and unusual. Because in my personal observation and experience, our teens will be the spearheads in a great future for our world.
As a teacher of both elementary grades and high school in our Jewish community, I have had the privilege of watching so many of your children grow, mature, change, and flourish. It’s a rare child that does not impress my colleagues and me with their hard work, thoughtfulness, creativity, and initiative. And these characteristics are not exclusive to Charlotte’s Jewish teens. We have all seen it in current events lately, as well. High school students, plunged into the national limelight by tragedies, maintaining not just their poise and dignity, but finding deep within themselves a wellspring of conviction and dedication to a greater good.
When I interact with our Hebrew High students and LIBERTY members, they demonstrate their devotion to the best values that our Jewish traditions teach us: love for our fellow humans, care for those among us in need, compassion for those in pain, and a desire to do something about all they deem unjust.
Even throughout their teen years, our students continue to learn, both at Hebrew High and in LIBERTY, the importance of good character. Fear not for our future. Our youth will grow into a truly Great Generation.
Amy Krakovitz Montoni (MRS. Montoni to her students) is editor of The Charlotte Jewish News and a teacher in three schools in Shalom Park. She has two grown children and she and her husband, Jeff, are on a mission to visit a winery in every state.