Contrary To Popular Belief, Today’s Kids Could Teach Us A Lesson In Manners

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teensWe may never understand why they feel the need to share every detail of their social lives online or what the appeal is of posting photos of all their food to Instagram (we get it, it’s a hamburger, thanks for the visual reminder of what meat on a bun looks like) but perhaps there is a benefit to putting your life on display to the world at large. Teens and young 20-somethings today seem to have an acute awareness of how their actions affect other people are are standing up to take responsibility for their misdeeds in ways that are truly admirable.

Kristen Morea shared her recent positive experience dealing with a college student on Facebook. Morea was scheduled to have a phone interview with a college student in regards to a placement in a internship program. The student missed the interview time, and Morea followed up with both a phone call and email but received no reply.Several hours later the student called Morea, having misread the email and confusing the interview time. Morea told the student she was not willing to reschedule, having already taken time from her day for the interview that didn’t happen.

Morea posted to Facebook that she hoped the student would learn a life lesson from the incident, but didn’t expect to hear from her again. However, the student sent Morea a handwritten apology note, along with a copy of the book Why We Make Mistakes, noting that had they read this book in advance of the interview, perhaps they wouldn’t have missed their appointed interview time. Morea was so impressed with the girl’s thoughtful act that she is now recommending her to the internship program.

If you believe humans are inherently good, then cue the warm fuzziest, If you’re cynical, you may think that this college student’s action were self-centered or motivated in part by the hopes that they might be reconsidered for the program. For you doubters, allow me to present Exhibit B.

Buzzfeed broke the story of how one young man handled an embarrassing situation with more humility and thoughtfulness than most adults. A boy named Jack, described by staff as being in his early teens, was in an Oregon bookstore with some friends while on spring break last month. Staff overheard Jack talking about he felt ill after eating, and Jack did indeed get sick. He vomited what bookstore employee Jennifer Wicka described to Buzzfeed as a massive puddle of vomit, approximately 10-12 feet in diameter. Jack didn’t make it to the bathroom, leaving the mess on the floor outside the rest room doors for Wicka and her staff to clean.

Vomiting in public is mortifying for anyone over the age of three, and most people would probably be to embarrassed about what happened to ever return to the scene of the slime. But last week, Wicka received a card in the mail from Jack. Addressed “Attention: Barf Cleaners”, Jack apologized to the workers for getting sick, thanked them for cleaning up the mess and included a Ben & Jerry’s gift card.

Teens and young adults are becoming ever more vocal in regards to of social issues like gender equality, human rights and how to be kind to your fellow person. It’s time for adults to look past the selfie sticks and treat them with the same respect they are showing for us and each other. If the above examples are any indication, I don’t fear my children reaching the teen years as much as I used to.