Friday, January 31, 2014

The Kids Are Still Alright

Anita and I went to Bryant’s “Winter Talent Show” this morning at the junior high auditorium. It was originally supposed to happen a few weeks ago but the lovely Michigan weather put the kibosh on that and it was rescheduled for today.

Bryant, who chose to wear a tuxedo – a gift from a relative – had been practicing Bruno Mars’ “If I Was Your Man” for weeks. He seemed a little nervous last night when he returned home from the barber’s with a fresh, new haircut but he didn’t say so. I was nervous for him, though. Some of the notes in that song are pretty high and the auditorium seats hundreds. I needn’t have worried.

I don’t want to reveal too much without the permission of those involved but suffice it to say that the sweetness and sensitivity of the 7th and 8th graders in the audience almost brought me to tears. They clapped and cheered and waved their hands in the air to support those on stage who were perhaps not American Idol material but who had the guts to sing in front of a large crowd anyway. One could see the impact this support had on the performers, who smiled and stood up a little straighter and sang or played their instruments a little louder. Even when the song was too long and the singer’s voice too “pitchy,” the boys and girls cheered and whistled. It was truly beautiful. These kids made me feel real good.

Bryant, incidentally, was amazing. If the screams and roars that erupted at the mere mention of his name are any indication, he’s really popular at his school. And he looked and sounded great; when he left the stage with a flower in one hand and the microphone in the other to walk through the audience and hand the flower to his special girl, singing the whole time, we couldn’t even see or hear him because of his standing, jumping, clapping, cheering, excited fellow students. I can’t take credit for what a fantastic young guy he is or what an excellent job he did but I sure was proud.

The second reason why I’m feeling good about the youth of today is because of what happened at Olivet Middle School – 35 miles southwest of my Lansing suburb – last October. You might have seen video or known about this already but I just heard about it on the radio this morning as I drove home from Bryant’s school.

The middle school’s football team – quarterback Parker Smith, wide receiver Justice Miller and the rest of the guys – decided to do something nice for one of their own: Keith Orr, a 95-pound teammate who’s well-liked and learning-disabled. They didn’t disclose their plans to the coaches or anyone else; they just made it possible for Keith to know how it feels to score a touchdown during a home football game. (Check out the CBS News video here.) They wanted, in the words of Justice Miller, “to make someone’s day. To make someone’s week. To make someone happy.”

They sure made me happy. And so did Bryant and his fellow students. We read and hear a lot about the young punks and smart-alecks and criminals among us, it seems, but we seldom hear about the wonderful ones, the respectful and kind and generous kids, the boys and girls who don’t make fun of their peers but lift them up instead.

Today was an uplifting day.

Source: CBS Evening News.

No comments:

Post a Comment