You can find interesting people everywhere. Airports, trains, walking on crowded streets. All have unique stories to tell, but we’ll rarely hear them because of our busy lives. Recently I had the privilege of hearing a heartwarming story from a perfect stranger, and thanks to her, I realized our upcoming generations are not as lost as we have been led to believe.
On a recent ride from the Memphis airport to my hotel, I found myself the lone passenger in the van. My driver began by saying she normally doesn’t work more than three days a week, but recently they had been calling her in for overtime. She was fine with that because her husband is going to trucking school and her sixteen year old daughter is very independent. Pondering a typical sixteen-year-old’s behavior, I casually mentioned how some girls actually benefit from supervision at that age. Thus began her story about her daughter’s love affair -- with BOOKS!
The more she spoke of her daughter, the more impressed I became. Imagine a teenager who must be told to put her book down and go to sleep! Not surprisingly, she is a straight A student who wants to study journalism in New York and then wander the streets of Paris. When I asked what kind of books she enjoyed, the driver said suspense and mystery. Since that’s my genre, I couldn’t help mentioning that I wrote.
By my story isn’t important here. What matters is there are plenty of ambitious, quiet teens who study hard, and these kids will become tomorrow’s leaders. Forget about the drunken, pregnant and tattooed teens who gain attention in the social media, television and movies. Hopefully, in time they will turn themselves around and be equally productive. Thankfully, kids like my driver’s help break the mindless, self-absorbed stereotype and give us hope for the future.
Coincidentally, the next day I had the same driver. Shortly after climbing in, I told her about this blog that I was writing about her daughter. She was so thrilled, I feared she would burst with pride. At the end of my ride, I wished her daughter well, but honestly her work ethic and eagerness to learn will certainly make her successful.
For those of us with gray hair, it helps to know there are kids like this one shadowing the background, studying, learning, determined to make something of their lives. So ignore what you see on TV and embrace our youth. Thanks to them our future is bright.