Thursday, June 25, 2015

Teenagers who DON'T only think of themselves.

The other day, four deep in traffic at a light, I saw something worth mentioning. 

A small woman, white-haired and elderly, was, with all her might, pushing what looked like a hand-cart stacked with blankets and other items across the six-lane intersection. She trudged, head down as though she were pushing a car. As she got closer, I saw what was making this journey so hard. It was not a full cart she pushed but a woman the size of two people in a wheelchair. But for her head, the large woman was buried beneath clothing and shopping bags.

They labored until they reached the right turn only lane on the other side. There they  stopped, stymied by the rise of the four inch curb. While those blinkers flashed to her right, the small woman circled the chair nervously, eyes darting to the traffic and back while the woman in the chair tried without success to lift and propel herself, chair and all, up and over the curb.

With one more push, the small woman gave up. She looked around in defeat and I willed the driver at the head of the line - the only one with safe proximity to her - to not be an asshat and help her out before the light turned. He didn't. 

From the other direction appeared two teenagers on bikes, pedaling furiously toward this scene. The bigger one of the two dropped his bike and sprinted, reaching the woman seconds before the light turned. When the other boy caught up, they lifted and shoved the chair onto the sidewalk, then continued moving it up the hill without a break in stride until the incline leveled off, a good hundred feet away. Then, they jogged back down the hill to where they'd dropped their bikes.  
It's the season of teenagers, they're everywhere. Quiet ones, sulky ones, bored and over-achieving and giggly ones. Teenagers who have graduated, who are preparing to leave home, who will become freshmen somewhere. We will see teenagers in their summer jobs, teenagers hanging around doing nothing. We will see them roll their eyes and hear them mumble.

Not me. When I think of teenagers – any teenager – I can't pay attention to what shows.  I've seen too many whose spirit has been tested, and whose generosity and kindness are too distracting to notice how they text when they should be paying attention, or won't help around the house, or just won't think of anyone but themselves. 
I wasn't surprised by what I saw at the intersection that day. Not at all.

But I do wish upon that asshat, several waits at many lights that he just can't seem to hit at the right time.




8 comments:

  1. Love. Love. Love. Examples like this.

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    1. Thank you Carla, I loved watching it. I only wish I could have yelled out the window ( I don't even know what), but they were too far away.

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  2. Wow, Susan. This is a fantastic story. Better still because it's true.

    As the mother of two sons, not too far past their teen years, I was always relieved when I saw them act out of caring and generosity not only to friends, but strangers.

    And the other guy? You're kinder to him than I would be. I'm thinking a nice flat tire about a mile from home, and no one to help him change it when the time comes.

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    1. Yes D.A. I agree about what our kids demonstrate. I've seen kindness and compassion in our kids that makes my head spin. And the asshat? He'll get his, I believe. I like your flat tire idea.

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  3. Great story! I don't have any kids myself and I have this tendency to accept media portrayals (i.e., unflattering cartoons) of teenagers as being true (with the exception of my cousins' kids, who are of course universally excellent) - but then I'll run into a bunch of teenagers in one of the volunteer situations I get involved in and they're awesome, every time.

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  4. Bonnie, thank you for your comment. Teenagers get a bad rap, I think. I raised a few but I also have become close to the ones I work with at Boys and Girls Clubs. The beauty of those years, at least in the ones I've known, is in their REFUSAL to judge. I think it's amazingly refreshing.

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    1. Very cool. We could learn from some of them, couldn't we?

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  5. I know teens and their sometimes uninterested, surly behavior often takes a beating. Thanks for tangible evidence there are still great kids out there.
    Brenda

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