A Broken Narrative
Recently I was asked by a high school teacher if I had any ideas about why students today seem so apathetic when it comes to engaging with the world around them. I waggishly responded, “Probably because they’re smart.”
In my opinion, we’re asking our young adults to step into a story that doesn’t make any sense.
Sure, we can grow the earth’s population to 9 billion (and probably will), and sure, we can extract our natural gas and oil resources as fast as possible, and sure, we can continue to pile on official debts at a staggering pace — but why are we doing all this? Even more troubling, what do we say to our youth when they ask what role they should play in this story — a story with a plot line they didn’t get to write?
So far, the narrative we’re asking them to step into sounds a lot like this: Study hard, go to college, maybe graduate school. And when you get out, not only will you be indebted to your education loans and your mortgage, but you’ll be asked to help pay back trillions and trillions of debt to cover the decisions of those who came before you. All while operating within a crumbling, substandard infrastructure. Oh, and by the way, the government and corporate sector appear to have no real interest in your long-term future; you’re on your own there.