This generation is not lost yet

By BRYAN DAVIS EDITOR,

When a person turns 18, they can legally vote. They can join the military.

Some go off to college and begin living a life on their own, free from their parents’ influences.

There are many 18-year-old men and women who act more mature than some 50-year-old people, but for the most part, folks who are between the ages of 18 and 25 still have a lot of growing up to do.

That’s why the government still makes you wait three more years to be able to purchase a gun, gamble, buy alcohol and more recently tobacco products.

I made some good decisions between those ages, but I think I probably made more boneheaded choices than sound ones.

I took out lots of student loans. I stayed out way too late at times. I skipped class. There were other dumb things I did I won’t get into, but you get the point.

It’s common practice by older adults to cut the cord and let younger adults make a few mistakes in life. That’s the only way we learn, right?

Even when that strategy is employed, it is still important to talk to young adults.

Just because we are letting them “sow a few wild oats” doesn’t mean we stop giving guidance.

The wisdom we impart may seem like it is falling on deaf ears, but it is not.

It’s more like it’s being filed away, and as young adults become more mature, that wisdom and guidance begins to sink in almost subliminally.

Hopefully, this current generation of young adults will get the picture sooner than later.

If not, there’s no telling how many more young men and women will die in the streets of Indianola.

Each and every death over the past couple of years that has come as the result of gun violence has been sad, but I can’t think of anything sadder and more defeating than an innocent 23-year-old female being gunned down in the middle of Main Street, caught in the crossfire of a gunfight that resembled something out of a John Wayne western.

Over what?

What was so important that Beatrice Williams had to die this past Saturday night?

She was reportedly shot in the chest when guns started blazing around 1 a.m. outside The Delta Corner, where a party was being thrown by Williams’ former classmates.

The prevailing attitude about the current crop of 18-25-year-olds is that “They are lost. Let’s worry about the next group.”

There are so many things wrong with that.

If we do not start talking to these young adults like we talk to the junior high and high school students, they are going to continue to shoot first and regret it later, if they live to do so.

If my professors, mentors, bosses and relatives had taken the attitude with me that I was too old to save when I was 18, 21 or even 25, I wouldn’t have had a chance. I wouldn’t have amounted to anything.

Even when I thumbed my nose up and laughed in their faces, they still shook their fingers at me and at times physically shook my shoulders and let me know I was making bad choices.

And at some point, the message sunk in.

This is indeed a dangerous generation of young adults.

They are loaded for bear, and many don’t seem to understand the power they hold in their hands when they have a gun.

But that shouldn’t stop us from confronting them in a loving way.

On the contrary, this only means that this generation of older adults is going to have to be more courageous than others before them.

We’re going to have to stare these young people in the face and tell them what they are doing is wrong, in spite of the fact that many are packing heat.

We have to tell them that if they want to legally carry a gun, that right comes with responsibility, and that it is not responsible to take your firearm out in the cold dark night and return fire at shadows.

It is not responsible to fire a gun into the air.

It is not responsible to leave guns out around children.

We have to tell them, perhaps even more emphatically than the elementary kids, how awful gangs and drugs are.

If we take the approach that there’s no help for these young adults in our town, then they are not lost. They have simply been thrown away.

I hope that when I’m 50, I’ll still have friends good enough to smack me on the back of the head when I do something stupid. And I will do stupid things when I’m 50, just like I do now in my late thirties.

For their own good, let’s start shaking some sense into our young adults. They may not act on it today, but they will thank us many years from now for saving their generation.

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