I am the mother of two teens – two boys ages 15 and 16 – and I wonder what I think a lot of older people wonder when they gaze upon our next generation – “Are we going to be OK?”
Teenagers don’t exactly inspire confidence most of the time. Chores have to be spelled out in great detail, like they have forgotten how to clean; gaming replaces homework; texting replaces talking; and TV/DVR replaces the great outdoors.
However, there is hope, as evidenced on April 13 at the Morikami Museum, when an entire class of teenagers arrived with a check for $1,000, as a donation for the museum’s children’s programs. The Japan Club of Western High School in Davie, Florida, had picked up trash and sold cookies to raise the four figures because they believe in the continuance of sharing Japanese culture with younger generations.
(Insert sigh of relief here.)
The president of the club, who started it with a mere handful of students and grew it to more than 50, was a petite, well-spoken brunette named Ashley Rudolph. Articulate and humble, she represented the fact that we’re going to be OK.
With a shy smile, she introduced her dad, Jay, who was following her around with a camera, documenting his daughter’s final triumphs as a high school senior. Ashley was leaving for college in the fall, and dad was a reluctant “empty nester.” He revealed that Ashley wanted to pursue a career in the Japanese arts and history, hence the club and all the support.
The Japan Club of Western High School dropped off the check, respectfully stood for a short speech from a board member, mugged for some pictures, wandered the gardens and the galleries, had lunch at the Cornell Café and enjoyed the day. I watched them, thinking, “Teenagers aren’t so bad after all.” Really.