Each spring, we ask our readers to nominate area tweens and teens who amaze them. And all I have to say about this year’s nominees is “Wow!” Strong, confident, fearless, creative, motivated, imaginative, and generous, they turn the notion that today’s youth are off track upside down.
And what about that notion? I have to admit, the fact that I’ve only seen the tops of my sons’ heads for the past few years because they’re constantly on their text machines plus the plethora of 20-somethings who choose to live with their parents have caused me to lament on more than one occasion that this generation doesn’t quite measure up to its predecessors (i.e., my generation). However, when not too long ago, I was relaying my annoyance about our youth to my own dear mother, she quickly put me in my place: “Well,” she said, “I thought the members of your generation were big losers, too!”
I suppose that every generation believes that the one that came after is too wild and out of control. The exasperation with our youth, at least for me, boils down to one simple thing: I just want them to listen. Here I am, with a wealth of life experience and knowledge gained from navigating just about every problem a human being can go through, yet my sons are not interested in my advice. Apparently they prefer to hear me irritably inquire, “Have you lost your mind?” when they choose to do the exact opposite of my recommendations. When I told my own dear mother about their indifference to my sage counsel, she replied, “You didn’t listen to me, either.”
The problem is, of course, that no self-respecting teen is going to do that—to listen—and even better yet, to follow, the advice of those who came before. In Teenage Land, that would be, well, ridiculous. I do worry, though, about the girls who are like the 17-year-old me: a bit unsure of herself and where she is heading and not at all willing to listen to the advice of her own mother.
If I could travel back in time, I wonder if the 17-year-old me would listen to words of wisdom from her older self? If she would curtail the dramatic eye rolls and long-suffering sighing long enough to lend me her ear, I would tell her to do many of the things that the fantastic girls featured here already seem to understand: follow your heart, have faith in yourself, take a chance, mistakes are ok, stop worrying so much about what others think, and there are far cooler things to focus on right now than boys. I’d counsel her that no one can wrangle away her confidence, and that she is the only one who can defeat it. I would probably tell her to roll her eyes less and listen to Mom’s two cents more—she is almost always right. I would definitely tell her to call Grandmom more often, to hug her tight when she visits, and tell her how much she loves her—and don’t put that one off for very long.
Maybe if we could embed these messages into all of our youths’ text messages or make them their ringtones, some of it would sink in? Or maybe, like the 17-year-old me and all the generations of teenagers that have come before, some of these lessons simply must be learned the hard way. But the girls you’ll read about in these pages are already well on their way to figuring it out. They inspire me with their unique skills, visions, and their indelible senses of self. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I have!
We always want to know about our LKN community! These are recurring features; see how many LKN people you could recommend.
Do you know a…
We want to know!
A WOTM has just moved into the LKN community, earned a new certificate or degree, or received a promotion or award…something like that.
Send us the WOTM’s name, where she works and her title, her email address, and in 1-3 sentences, tell us the news. WOTM entries are not advertisements. We will not include “for more information.” As Dana likes to say, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
If you think you know a WOTM but aren’t sure, assume she is! Send us her information.
We celebrate the guys, too! Email us and tell us why your husband is fantastic. We feature these great guys in our February issue, but the sooner we know about him, the better!
These days, the definition of family has evolved. Throughout the year, and particularly in September, we like to share family stories. So, whatever yours looks like–if it works, shout it out! Of course, if you know another successful LKN family, who just happens to be slightly left–or right–of center, we want to know about them, also!
Work teams of mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, granddaughter, aunts, all relations!
We ask school and community leaders for recommendations, but if you know an outstanding LKN girl, age 10-18, to nominate for our June issue, please do. Girls are selected by a committee, based on the details of the nomination (so be thorough! We need a little more than “excellent grades,” please.). Include her parental contact information, if possible.
If you think you know an amazing LKN girl but aren’t sure, assume she is! Send us her information. But we’d like her parental contact info, too, please.
We love to tell the survivor and success stories of women who’ve triumphed over domestic violence, breast cancer (any cancers), rape, and other injuries and situations. Tell us with whom we should talk; tell us whose voice should be the one to convince other LKN Women they are survivors, too!
This one is a little more involved, but don’t shy away. Each December we have a Woman of Will Awards Luncheon. If you know a woman who qualifies (in your opinion is just fine!), please nominate her today. You do need to formally nominate her. If you’re not ready to complete the application, go ahead and send us an email and let us know. We can nag you to complete your nomination by the due date.
Bring it on! Tell us whom you believe would make a fantastic LKNW feature and why, in 100 words or fewer. Please include contact information. We may not reply to every recommendation, but we will read them.
*Any story idea sent in to us is considered our property. You are giving it to us.
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