For College Students

Take a moment and read this section from the May 7, 2011 issue of World Magazine:

Author:  Janie B. Cheaney, Title:  A Nation of Terrys, Subtitle:  Slacker descendants of the postwar middle class are depleting America’s social capital

Let’s call him Terry.  He’s your cousin, your uncle, or your brother-in-law.  He graduated from high school sometime between 1970 and 1990, may have attended a year of college, worked a few jobs (but none for long), married once or twice, fathered a few kids, in or out of wedlock–and failed to establish a forward motion in life. “Terry just can’t seem to get it together,” his mother says from time to time.  “Terry’s a loser,” is the judgment of his former friends. 

Terry is often a nice guy: friendly and personable, a fixture at family gatherings and occasional sender of Christmas cards. Unless he’s living with you, which he might be because he doesn’t make enough money to pay the rent, much less buy a home. Drugs or alcholol are part of his problem but not, you suspect, the cause of it. And what is that cause? It’s hard to say. For whatever reason, Terry just can’t function as a fully responsible adult.

Teresa also can’t seem to get it together, but she must assume some resonsibility for her fatherless children. She wants the best for her kids, of course, but seems unable to provide or even encourage those things, and her children are caught in the same downward spiral. Her only outside involvement is with a loose network of relatives, freinds, and non-permanent associations: no commitment to a cause or church, no long-range plans because it’s all she can do to live day to day.  Rootless men and single moms [meaning: single moms with no purpose other than survival] have always existed in American society, but not in such numbers.

When I read that, I immediately thought of you–my students.  Instead of “rootless,” you’re on a mission!  You’ve got “forward momentum” in life.”  Many of you have “long-range plans.”  That’s why I respect you, and like spending time with you.  (Remember my “Grand Canyon” speech?)  Keep going forward! 


One response

  1. Thank you for those words of encouragement. Often through the day to day of life we don’t realize the impact we have on others. Going back to scool was a tough and almost necessary decision for me. Certainly I expected to grow from the experience, gaining knowledge and deeper understanding along the way. However, what I did not consider is how much my decision to return to school would give hope and energy to others. As well, there have been those who’ve seen growth in me and told me so; that is emensely encouraging. Thanks again for you kind words, and for you honest heart. (p.s. – Please don’t take off points for spelling or grammer). 😃

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