We all know that teenagers get a bad rap. We have all experienced this in our own teen years, as did our parents and their parents. While trying to become young adults navigating our way through life, we make mistakes as our hormones run rampant.
What kind of hairstyle is that? What kind of music are you listening to? You’re going to wear that? Have we not all heard these questions being thrown at us?
My grandmother once said, “Each generation of teens has their own style of clothing, music and hairstyles. Let them find out who they are, with limits of course.”
Let me tell you about some teens who deserve to be praised. My husband and I had the privilege of rising very early one morning to attend and be witness to one of the bravest, kindest deeds any teen could choose to participate in. I am talking about Bald for Bucks, a fundraising event for pediatric cancer research.
As we walked through the halls of their high school toward the gymnasium, we were met by boys and girls who had already sat in the “chair.” They were laughing, hugging and high-fiving each other for a job well done.
As we entered the gym, it was buzzing with activity. The school allowed the students to have friends accompany them for support. Parents, grandparents and siblings stood anxiously waiting for their teen to be next. Girls and boys were manning the register tables for the participants, while others were waiting to hand out the certificates and T-shirts these wonderful kids had earned.
As we watched, some of the girls coming into the gym were holding hands, some were laughing, some were crying knowing that their hair would soon be gone and some just looked like they were in shock. Two girls even had each of their long hair braided into one large braid locked together. Yet through all of these emotions, not one boy or girl walked away!
They had lobbied for sponsors to make a monetary donation and they were following through with their commitment. Both of our granddaughters participated. One lost more than 5 inches of her hair, the other lost it all. Yes, they shaved her head.
“Don’t cry,” she mouthed to me as I stood there with her mom, her papa and my camera. How could I not? Not because she was losing her hair, but because of who she has become at such a young age. Most of us at age 14 would never have done such a selfless act. When she was finished, the smile of her bravery lit up the room and the lens of my camera.
There was tremendous applause after each teen completed his or her task. There were also many pictures taken that day. The best one was of my granddaughter holding her certificate of completion and wearing her badge of honor T-shirt. This high school alone raised more than $48,000.
Because of this age of technology, our teens have become more educated and informed about the world we live in. They have become connected to the struggles of others not as fortunate as they are. They have no problem stepping up to try to make a difference. They volunteer for many causes by either raising money, donating their time or their physicality.
Teens these days are awesome, brave, kind, thoughtful and caring. They are our hope, our future. I believe we will be in great hands.