Straight Talk Advice

Dec 19, 2007

Teens wish for wisdom, tolerance, care of planet

Dear Readers: World peace and ending hunger, the most wished-for things of the 60s, 70s and 80s, are considered pie-in-the-sky by most youth today. For better or worse, the thoughts of youth are society’s truth serum. I am honored to share this year’s societal wishes from the teen panel.


From Julian, 15: I live in a household with many religions. My father’s family is Jewish, my mother’s is Catholic. Both my parents converted to Hinduism, while my brother has a Muslim wife and converted to Islam. I, myself, believe in a higher power but don’t follow a religious path. My household is a model of tolerance and acceptance between different religious groups. I wish global society could have a similar tolerance and that no one religion pushed their views or considered itself the “true” religion.


From Bird, 17: You can still fight with each other — I can’t even imagine having world peace — but I would like everyone to be greener, trade their SUVs for hybrids, or convert to biodiesel. I want everyone to recycle, be clean, and be conscious. I know a woman who doesn’t believe in global warming, she doesn’t think it’s happening!


From Sawyer, 16: As the most multi-cultural nation on earth, America has great collective intelligence and creativity, but we’ve lost the drive to produce our own goods. World peace will never happen — we may produce a more united world, but people will always fight. Starvation will always be here, too. There will always be rich and poor. No one wants to mow the lawn, yet someone is left to it. It’s sad, but there will never be a time when all is equal. If we get rid of AIDS, something else will cause sorrow, end life, create destruction. You just need to strive and work hard for what you can. For that, freedom is essential, including the freedom to question and talk frankly about religion, including the terrorists’ religion.


From Geoff, 22: I read today that more people believe in the Devil and Hell than Darwin’s theory of evolution. Fixing that would be a start. I also wish our government was more transparent, people would become citizens again, presidential front-runners would stop thinking homosexuals will degrade the military, auto-makers would shift to more renewable energies instead of suing the states for seeking their own mandates, Fox News would be correctly categorized as a “talk show,” big business and conservatism would stop trumping science, and we could own up to 9/11.


From Betsy, 19: I wish we would stop using so much energy when we have the technology to use so much less. I also wish the media would stop negatively influencing kids to grow up faster then they should.


From Kendal, 20: I’d love for society to realize the Iraq war is mostly a peace-keeping police action. If we were to leave right now, there would be mass genocide of Shiites killing Sunnis, and Turks beating down Kurds. Of course we’re there for oil, but preventing genocide is high on the action list, too.


From Laura, 21: I would like people to ease up on political correctness. People are so quick to accuse others of being racist, sexist, or prejudiced that we end up perpetuating the very thing we want to eradicate. Instead of harping on every politically incorrect phrase, what if we put our energy into being tolerant of everyone in a more general, relaxed way?


From Lennon, 21: What happened to simple fun? If work was something people did part of the week instead of all week, the world would be a lot less stressed.


From Megan, 18: I mainly long to find comfort in the world. I wish to be truly happy, to love my life in every way, to be with people I love, and live to the fullest with them.

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