Recycling has been around longer than any of today’s young teens have been alive and maybe that’s why recycling has never been a question for them as to whether or not they should recycle but has always been more of a “How else can we help when recycling,” kind of thought process. My own generation, having grown up in the 70’s has a different mind-set. In fact, I have to remind myself the reasons we recycle, when to recycle and how to keep my family and household up-to-date and aware of the reasons to recycle.
This new, younger generation, is an impressive one, to me. They seem to be aware of humanity on a global level. Lessons they’ve been taught in school on a consistent basis have always had a common theme; take care of the Earth or we may lose it. They are keenly aware of how wasteful prior generations have been and seem to be of one mind when it comes to solving those problems.
When we recycle we are taking a step away from ourselves and begin to think about the Earth as a whole. It has become obvious to us that by recycling our waste we are going to be leaving less waste for future generations to have to deal with and we are taking an active step in keeping the planet ‘around’ for a longer period of time.
Today’s teens have inspired me by their dedication to helping others who have less than they do and how wasting any commodity or resource we may have, the idea of wasting it is simply not an option. They are forever coming up with new ways to reduce production of an item or they are constantly thinking up ways in which the item can be reused; they do this without needing to “think” about it, it’s the only way of life they’ve known.
There is an organization that has taken something many of us take for granted and figured out a way to pass on to those who are unable – to feel a little normal. Locks of Love takes hair donated by people and has that hair made into wigs for people who have had their hair fall out due to chemotherapy treatments or as the result of another disease or condition. How brilliant to think of those of us who grow our hair without thought or effort, to be able to have the privellige of helping another! It’s beautiful to me, how this new generation is always thinking about how they can help others.
There are two teens that I know of who took this idea of growing their hair in order to donate it, and dedicated this past summer to doing just that; and the week before school opened in September, sat together and had their hair cuts. What is remarkable about these two teens is that only one is a girl, the other, a young man knew there was a need for other boys his age to have wigs made for them and took on the challenge valiantly. Boys don’t have to have their hair quite as long in order to donate it, but it does have to be grown-out. My awe at teens like these two from town, who at such a volatile age, where self-image is so very fragile, would step out of their comfort zones of following the crowd, in order to do grow their hair long enough for it to be recycled and reused by others, is overwhelming. By stepping out of those comfort zones they leave themselves in a vulnerable situation, where they can become the targets for some of the ridicule that goes on in Middle school; and yet they still do it.
Maybe they are less likely to go against the idea of recycling because of the timing of their birthdates; it’s just refreshing to know that the idea of recycling is strong in this up coming generation and if we continue to foster that innate responsibility in them, we may just keep this planet around a little longer.