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DAVIS: Amazed by our younger generation

April 29, 2011

If you haven’t taken the time over the past week or two to stop and smell the roses, count your many blessings or any other cliché related to being thankful, you might need to check your pulse. For the first time ever in all my years in Saline County, I was actually afraid a tornado might hit us. Believe you me, I had no need to check for a pulse. I could feel it from head to toe.
During times such as we have experienced lately, our community responds almost immediately. Neighbors help neighbors. Churches band together and open their doors to shelter those whose homes have been destroyed. Tragedy and destruction seem to bring out the best in us. Some might say that it is sad to think we only put aside our differences and help others when we absolutely have to do so. On the other hand, perhaps we are more helpful than we realize. Perhaps. Let’s look for evidence.
First and foremost, it is easy to see our city, county, state and nation will be in good hands in the future. I am continually reminded each day of what our young people are doing for us all. They serve in an all-voluntary armed service. They fight battles halfway around the world against enemies that hide among others in plain sight and blow themselves up, taking innocent people with them. But most of all, they go there because of a desire and a strong sense of protection for the values they hold dear.
Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, we all need to recognize them for their bravery, regardless of our opinion or political leanings about the reason they are there in the first place. Bravery is bravery. When we thank our troops, we must make sure to thank their families as well. Many families in our community deal with a loved one in service every day. We must recognize their sacrifice.
The good people in our police departments and fire departments do what most of us can’t or won’t. They put their lives on the line each day they walk out of the house to protect and serve all of us here. They find the criminals and put them in jail. They put out the fires that threaten our homes. They rescue us when we are trapped. They do all this for us because it is their calling. Not just those who work for a particular municipality, but also those who volunteer. From dispatcher all the way up to chief, we thank you.
Even more hopeful to me is seeing what our school-age children are doing in the community. Students from every town are getting involved in projects and causes too many to mention without leaving ones out for lack of not knowing exactly all of them out there. But therein lies the good news: There are too many to count.
And what does this say about our future? To take a line from a Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t worry, be happy!”
Additional studies have been done regarding the fact that we have four generations in the workforce at this point in our history. Each generation has identifiable characteristics ranging from the need for structure and instructions to the need to be seen as part of a group. What I found amazing — and through personal observation to be factual — is that the current generation in our schools has less interest in financial gain or status and more ambition to “make things better.” While they see their elders as happy and successful, they view the route to the same destination as a different path. They do not measure success as being richer than their parents; they see happiness derived from “doing the right thing” and if they are wealthy along the way, so be it.
I ask you this simple question. Is there anything wrong with that? For me, I say not a darn thing. And I should also say thank you to these younger generations for helping right the ship. You have my full support and faith.
Carry on.

Brent Davis is a lifelong resident of Benton and Saline County. The Courier has been part of his life for as long as he can remember. He is a graduate of Benton High School. His column appears twice a week: on Fridays on Page 3 of The Saline Courier and on www.bentoncourier.com, and on the Opinion Page in Sunday’s edition of The Saline Courier. 
davisb@flash.net

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