Recently, I was made aware of a wonderful organization in Pittsburgh called Entrepreneuring Youth, a non-profit organization that helps middle school and high school students, who are at risk of failing academically, learn about business creation and experience ownership. It partners with educators, parents and youth work professionals who want to use entrepreneurial learning and business creation to engage young people in learning.
I applaud the efforts of this organization for engaging these young people and showing them that their opportunities for success can be limitless. We always talk about the fact that our children today will not have the some opportunities that we did. So it pleases me to see we’re doing something to change that fact. But what kind of world are we sending our young men and women into?
As a former school teacher and a proud graduate of Youngstown State University, I grew up with the golden rule—don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t steal. We were also taught to have respect for your common man even if you disagreed with them.
That’s why it concerns me that today’s youth are entering a world where we have fallen athletic heroes, corrupt business leaders, and politicians who are bickering all the time, whether it’s at the local, state, or federal level.
In fact, as of this writing, I just read an article on CNBC where the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that “a long-term solution to the United States’ fiscal problems was not likely as long as President Barack Obama remains in office.” He was quoted as saying, “…I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office a real solution is probably unattainable…”
So basically, one person is the only reason that we’re in the mess that we are in, and if you magically shift that one person, everything will be fine? Really? If that is true, look at the sports world, particularly the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s taken them 18 years to finally become competitive. How many players and managers did they have to shift around to find the right chemistry?
It makes me feel bad that the message we are sending to our children is that the only way to solve a problem is to remove the opposition or just do everything that you can to make that person miserable until they come around. Forget about compromise. The sniping at one another in the political world is also disgusting. But many of us have already lost faith in the political system and have grown frustrated with the gridlock in Washington.
Of course, few children probably look to politicians as their role models. Many look up to athletes, but even they get in trouble. Just last week, Hines Ward was picked up on a DUI in his home state of Georgia. Look at the problems that have befallen other superstars such as Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant over the years.
Even in my world of publishing, you have the Rupert Murdoch situation, where his media holdings’ journalistic integrity and ethical standards are now being scrutinized. Where does it end? I’m just puzzled by it all and I don’t want to see our children head down these same roads.
I look at these students who are part of Entrepreneuring Youth and other similar programs across the country and I just have to believe that they have the right role models and mentors in their lives so they can head down a different path from today’s so-called leaders and heroes.
My only hope for them is that they learn from their entrepreneurial experiences as well as from their moms, dads, extended family members, and teachers, about the importance of compromise and working with one another. We have a responsibility to our youth to teach them that and it also doesn’t cost money to teach them to be civil to one another. That’s free.