Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why Are Our Youth So Negative?

Why Are Our Youth So Negative?
Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)

Those individuals between 18 and 29 years old do not have much confidence in this great country if one believes the polls. They fear for the future of the country and as a result their own future. I understand the ones who are the youngest because I saw many of those same types of young people when I commanded the Recruit Training Regiment at Parris Island, South Carolina in the early eighties. A large percentage of these young men were looking for something that they did not see or believe existed in their local environments and hoped that they could find it in the Marine Corps. They really didn't know what it was that they wanted and as a result could not explain it.

Take a look at how the Marines advertise for new recruits or new officer candidates. We promise challenges while depicting Marines climbing mountains, jumping out of airplanes, shooting weapons, or flying airplanes. Back in the sixty's and seventy's it was, "We didn't promise you a rose garden." 

The point is that the youth are always looking for something and it is up to those in key positions in every type of industry, school, government or the military to be prepared to challenge these young people and provide the opportunity for them to be successful by being aware of the possibilities that are present in this great country. Our history is full of examples that can be used to show what can happen when one is willing to work hard and dedicate his efforts to become the best.

How often have we seen a dynamic coach take over a mediocre team and in a short period of time turn it into a championship team? What about a school that is failing and a dynamic principal arrives and the school outperforms all others. A military unit that has been defeated and is in the doldrums until a fantastic leader assumes command and the unit can not be stopped. Admiral Bull Halsey and General Patton in the military; Vince Lombardi in sports; and Joe Clark in education are the epitome of that. Those are only a couple that come to mind, but there are so many more who have made fantastic achievements in different arenas. 

I believe that one thing that our youth today have going against them that most generations before them did not have is the lack of our schools teaching American history. Our history is not of a perfect nation, but when compared to the rest of the world, there is no comparison. Our constitution has stood the test of time and was written by a group of fantastic patriots. When has a group of such individuals ever been assembled at one particular time in history? That in and of itself is worth a place in history.

The Marine Corps spends a lot of time teaching about its history and how it impacted on this country. Key individuals are covered and their contribution to the background of the Corps. At recruit graduation, many parents attend and find it heartwarming to discover the difference in their sons and daughters. The positive is constantly stressed while teaching the recruits how to become Marines. The same was accomplished in our schools in the past, but far too many fail to do that now.

There are so many examples of individuals throughout history who made a difference with their leadership and vision. The United States has more than its share of that particular group. Who they are and how they did it should be extolled. If negative aspects of our country are constantly stressed, then more and more people will have a negative outlook. At present, we are in some difficult times, but effective and positive actions can turn that around. We currently have the capability of becoming energy independent with the latest technology, but the government and its agencies are preventing it. Lower corporate taxes would cause more organizations to locate in the United States. Allowing medical insurance companies to sell across state lines would lower the cost. These are just a couple of items that would have a significant impact on the direction of the economy and give the youth more hope because of more jobs.

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