There are many accusations leveled at the young people of today. One hears older people referring to the careless, lazy, altogether good for nothing young men of today and to the silly, shallow, excitement seeking young women. They say that modesty and courtesy are absolutely extinct; that the younger generation is extravagant, selfish, and irresponsible; that the object of their dancing is to accomplish the maximum of motion in the minimum of space; that fads are more contagious and dress more erratic than ever before.
Before answering these statements let us consider that generalizing term, “they.” This is an age of standardization in which everything must be condensed and labeled; but the young people of today cannot be standardized, as many older people are attempting to standardize them. It is not fair to any mass of people as large and varied as that characterized as “the younger generation” to judge and condemn it by a few of its number.
If the people who criticize the youth so broadly could see it in the classroom, they would realize that these young people are efficient, that they really observe and think, and above everything else, they are capable to take care of themselves. These boys and girls are looking ahead always; never backwards. They are on their way to character, not made by an immovable groove of traits and habits.
Again, who are the admired ones in the high school? Inevitably the upstanding athlete wearing the school letter, or the boy or girl who has won recognition through the writing of an article or the winning of a contest. The younger generation’s judgments are not all unbalanced.
Bear in mind that these young people are born in full possession and realization of the telephone, radio, motor car, airplane, moving picture, and any number of equally important modern inventions. Where their parents felt reckless driving behind a fast horse at fifteen miles an hour, the modern youth has the automobile and possibility of fifty to seventy-five miles an hour. The cases are essentially alike. These same parents traveled as fast as they could and enjoyed themselves as much as possible when they were young, and there is no question but that their fathers and mothers worried over them as much as do present day fathers and mothers. Today’s younger generation is doing exactly the same thing, the difference being that they have more to do it with. The youth of today is fundamentally fine and true, with an immense power for good that will someday rule the nations of the world as successfully as they have been ruled for the past centuries.
From the Albany (OR) High School Whirlwind, June 1924