Teenagers, especially these days, are viewed as self-centered, arrogant, rude, selfish, vain and the list goes on. The news is filled with stories about how the younger generation is rapidly committing more crimes and how more teens are frequently being charged as adults in the criminal courts.
Adults, especially older adults, often shake their heads at some of the behavior they witness in public from teens. The language, dress, and demeanor of some teens often give a image of a reckless, careless, me first attitude.
Viewing all teens in this manner is stereotyping and grossly unfair. The Lady Maroons of Clinton High School competed in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday February 9, in a track meet. During this trip, these athletes conduct and demeanor, not only represented their school well, they influenced and taught some great lessons to an impressionable 9 year old, most of which had nothing to do with their track meet.
Let me describe how these girls encountered strangers, who they most likely will never see again, but left a lasting impression on. While staying in a Bloomington, Ind. hotel, my husband, daughter and I interacted on several occasions with the Lady Maroons track team. We encountered these girls as a whole team and also in small groups on Feb 8 and 9. Each time, they were congenial, respectful and encouraged my nine-year-old in a way she won’t soon forget. We joked with them in a elevator, telling them that we were trying to beat the team to breakfast so we wouldn’t be late to our reason for being in Bloomington, a Spelling Bee Competition that our nine-year-old was in.
The reaction that information got from your team was priceless. How important they made her feel for being in a Spelling Bee and their statements on how much they were impressed on her achievement at being chosen to represent her school made her smile from ear to ear. At breakfast, more of the team arrived and as they gathered the respectful attitudes towards the other guests was again displayed.
While at the pool, we saw the girls again, some who made gracious comments about my daughter. As she swam and they stretched and exercised outside the pool, my nine -year-old witnessed what hard work looked like. Back in our room, my daughter mentioned how nice all these girls were to her and how hard they were working, which lead to great teaching moment using these girls as examples.
During this short overnight stay, this team demonstrated many qualities that exemplified great character traits that are needed in our society. They showed my daughter that hard work is needed to accomplish any goal. Their congenial attitude toward a smaller child, one of whom should be insignificant to them by today’s standards, is the right way to treat a stranger. Their respect for others in all situations displayed to her that all people deserve to be treated like that. Their encouragement taught her to do the same thing to others in the future. Life lessons from a group of teenagers that will impact and influence her for the good, warmed my heart and made me smile.
Well done Lady Maroons! I do not know how your track meet results came out. I doubt very seriously if you would even remember us past that day. I do not know how you saw your interactions with my family, but I do know that we were blessed by encountering you on this weekend.
I do know that how anyone acts in public is noticed by all and the example you set was outstanding. I do know that the weekend that my daughter competed in her first spelling bee will always carry the memory of the first-class group of Lady Maroons that made such a lasting impression of how teens can affect the world.