An Open Letter to the Youth of the Nation

My name is John. I was born and raised on the southern shores of NJ. There isn’t really anything special about me that you should listen to me if I have never met you, HOWEVER, I believe there is something special about your generation and the moment of time we find ourselves in. Please allow me to explain.

This is likely your generation’s “watershed” moment. For my generation, it was likely 9/11. I was a senior in at Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, NJ. Sitting in art class, we got an announcement over the loudspeaker. Little did I know that by the time I got home that day, it felt like the consciousness of the nation had completely become disoriented, angry, scared, and more.

Again, this is will be your generation’s “watershed” moment. You will likely look back on this with a sense of “Yes, I was there, I was directly impacted. In the moment, we didn’t always know what would happen next but we made it through.”

With that in mind, I would like to address three things you might be feeling: disorientation, anger and perhaps fear.

Disorientation happens when one or more of our major guiding principles is taken away from us. This could be family, it could be structure, it could be school, it could be any number of things. You may feel as though you don’t know what is going to happen next. Adults are feeling the same way right now. HOWEVER, when things get shaken up, new things can come to light or new things can start to be. Already, we are seeing a reformation of sorts surrounding online communities, communications, and creativity. All of those things are directly because of this current situation.

Anger might be something else you are feeling. Perhaps because you have a strong sense of how things should be or how you think you want things to be, which is completely understandable. All of us have expectations that are sometimes not met, but its a positive thing to let the anger we might feel point us toward something that we need to talk through. Our emotions are signposts that direct us to define our values or become more aware of our values than we ever have been before.

And finally, fear might be rising in you. Possibly due to the disorientation sure, but probably more because of the looming question, “What will the future be like? Tomorrow, next month, in 3 months…” Fear is often a result of a real or perceived threat of harm that overtakes our thinking and causes us to have a physical reaction. Remember that old adage of “flight, fight or freeze”? Fear is real, but it doesn’t have to dictate your behavior. Every one of us have to look to tomorrow with trust as well as bravery in the midst of possible fear.

All three of these experiences are things that EVERY generation must go through. Granted, we each might be thrown into them for different reasons, they are part and parcel of the human experience. That means, that what is going on inside of you is normal. The situation, sure, is not. But this whole event has so very much to teach you about being human, humane, humble and possibly how to have humor in the midst of hardship.

I believe there is an arc to the universe, a trajectory of where everything everywhere is headed, and deep within me, I think that the end is Divinely Good, True, Beautiful and Loving. Some people may call those things by a different name, but for a long time people have called those things as “God in Disguise.”

So do this, live today with goodness, beauty, truth and love. Again, even in the midst of what is happening. By doing so, you will be contributing to the Divine pulling that is happening to the entire cosmos as you read this. Your generation is important because you are lovely, lovable and loving. Let this watershed moment not be wasted, intentionally choose to let what is happening now make you into Saints.

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