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Local teens do have meaningful options

What activities can teens and young adults under 21 do?

My kids have occasionally exhibited the classic kid monster behavior of clothe me, feed me, entertain me, and as a cynical parent I have in humor called them “parasites” for doing so. They are 18 and 21 now, but I have empathy for the current squeeze of teen friendly activities offered in our community.

As the same cynical parent I have been guilty of spoiling my children, too.

I recall a 2005 Newsweek article about parents spoiling their children that talks about the topics of responsibility and delayed gratification, “But kids who have no responsibilities never learn one of life’s most basic lessons: that every individual can be of service to others and that life has meaning beyond one’s immediate happiness.”

From the District 209 update for fall 2007:

“Matt Maginnis, a senior at Proviso East High School is currently vice president of the National Honor Society. In addition to his advanced placement classes, Matt is currently enrolled in the Lewis University physic’s program on Saturdays. Matt is an active member of his church and youth group, working with his church mission team in Mississippi the past two spring breaks repairing homes in damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In addition to his school and community responsibilities, Matt finds time to participate in a variety of school activities. He is a peer tutor, a percussionist in the Proviso East band, and a member of the boy’s volleyball team. Matt has truly distinguished himself as a scholar, community member and role model during his four years at Proviso East High School.”

My point is there are so many options for our children out there but we seem to overlook the ones that require hard work and commitment and in practice look only at the ones of recreation and pure marketed entertainment venues like video games, cell phones and pop music and reality TV. As educators, parents, school officials and elected officials, we can create more engaging youth and young adult activities. It won’t necessarily be convenient or easy but parents should promote those other options and responsibilities as Matt’s good parents did. I believe Matt’s teachers at Forest Park public school and his teachers at Proviso East also contributed in challenging and nurturing his character and leadership qualities, because they became expectations.

Mr. Maginnis’ efforts need to be recognized because of his unselfish work yet, I would bet if you asked him he would respond that his reward and greatest satisfaction has been in helping his family, church and community. I also bet he uses prayer when he needs to and without being told to.

Bob Cox
Forest Park

Pancake breakfast

The St. Bernardine Religious Education Program wishes to thank the many people who so generously supported our pancake breakfast on Oct. 21. A special note of thanks to our patrons listed here: Ed’s Way, Golden Steer, Quitsch Florist, Quaker Oats Co., Spence Family and Jasper Farina.

Ann Stauffer, St. Bernardine director of Religious Education
Forest Park