Kids get such a bad rap these days.
And the explanation for the bad rap frequently comes from worse reasoning, something like, "You know, kids these days need the 10 Commandments in school. Take the commandments out of school, and it all goes down the drain. It's a can of worms. It's the big blue sea, and it's why Joey's doing meth."
Like a kid is going to suddenly start making good choices because he's learned he shouldn't covet his neighbor's wife.
Although, it might send him to the dictionary and have him asking what exactly all the coveting is about.
And it might leave someone with a lot of explaining to do about sex - or not, depending on if you believe in that kind of stuff.
Anyway, I had the privilege recently to meet two great kids. And their parents are going to hate me for putting their names in a column right below a paragraph containing the word "sex."
I understand and apologize.
But these kids are fabulous and left me so very inspired.
Sarah Farthing is just 16. She is graduating early with a 3.4 GPA from Pioneer High School, the district's alternative-education school.
You know what she wants to do when she gets out? She wants to go to college, study physiology, and become a masseuse.
Here's why:. She thinks it's a good career choice. I mean, this girl knows her stuff.
Corporations, she said, large corporations especially, are beginning to hire masseuses because studies show that massage increases circulation, and improves the heart and overall general health.
And corporations, she said, would rather keep their employees healthy and pay to have a masseuse in the office than have their staff sick and pay them to do completely nothing and be out of the office.
Or, instead, Sarah said, she may one day open her own massage office. An entrepreneur!
In my opinion, if none of this works out, which I sincerely doubt, she could always be a writer. It's something she does in her spare time, anyway.
Here's the concluding thought of her valedictorian speech she will give at the Pioneer Commencement, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Community Center: "Let the moon guide your dreams and the sun guide your ambition."
Whatever, Sarah! That's fabulous. This girl with dreams and ambitions is telling her classmates to have dreams and ambitions.
Personally, I feel that is a little more guidance-worthy than something like "Classmates, I am going to quote from the 10 Commandments on this our final commencement day in hopes of providing you guidance in life. My thought is this: You shall not, my brethren, take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. I repeat, you will not take the Lord's name in vain."
Like Sarah, Nathan Neben, 17, the Pioneer salutatorian, is graduating ahead of time. He left Carson High School because he wanted to jump-start his future and has been taking classes at WNCC, the very reason he can graduate early.
Last year, the Waterfall fire drove him nuts. Sitting down below, watching it, he wanted to do something about it. He wanted to be involved.
So now he's going to become a firefighter.
This is what he, a student graduating from an alternative-education school, said: "I'm not scared of the future. I look forward to it. I don't see high school as an end to my education. It's just a step along the way."
Holy cow. Pinch yourself. Because I did. You see, there are a lot of good kids out there with dreams and visions and plans. They come from all walks of life. And I don't think the 10 Commandments made them that way. I think that their parents, teachers and families influenced them.
And I bet they spent some amount of time discovering for themselves who they are and what they want to be.
Tell you what.
Sarah and Nathan are not just going to make a great masseuse and a great firefighter. I think they're going to be great whatever they do with their lives.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.