Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Children and Our Future

There are people who will argue that kids these days are apathetic, incapable of speaking and dressing properly and neither ready nor interested in solving the problems they'll soon inherit. Well I've been fortunate enough to have attended two events this year where I witnessed the exact opposite: teens do care and they're not waiting until the reigns are handed over to them; they're making things happen right now.

Kidult is the brainchild of music artist/producer/fashion designer Pharrell Williams and Mimi Vald├ęs Ryan, my former editor-in-chief at Latina Magazine. It's mainly a news and entertainment site that covers a diverse range of subjects yet never talks down to its audience. Two weeks ago, I participated as a mentor at the company's first Youth Leadership Conference and only wished the mingling/networking session lasted more than an hour. Not only did we discuss typical pop culture news and reality TV, but how to make smart career choices as well. I was so impressed by the drive they possessed at such an age and the fact that they already know what to do with their lives! (The adults at the table sure didn't.) Even if they change their minds down the line, I do hope they pursue their subsequent interests with such appetites.

Although it's a separate entity from TED, TEDxTeen works much like the popular non-profit organization, which focuses on spreading ideas and sparking conversation through conferences and innovative speakers. This first TEDxTeen conference was held back in March at the Scholastic Auditorium in NYC and, with a focus on turning our dreams into action, spotlighted teens (and some adults) around the world who have begun to do just that. Some, like Mousa Mosawy, have managed to overcome obstacles and disabilities to pursue their goals while others, like Mattie Stepanek, continue to inspire others long after they've passed.

Imagine a day filled with adult speakers pumping motivation into today's youth sitting in the audience and then hearing our young generation calling out to their peers, urging them to take a stand, letting them know that change is within reach. At first you're amazed by what these people have accomplished already. Then you wish you had half a clue as to what you wanted to do when you were their age. And after wondering what on Earth have you been doing with your own life, you walk out of there fired up, wanting to take over the world before your time is up.

Here's one young lady, Sejal Hathi, whose speech and international non-profit organization has stuck with me to this day.

TEDxTeen 2010 - Sejal Hathi from We Are Family Foundation on Vimeo.


  1. Sounds like you had a lot of fun with this...

    I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up... :)

  2. Awesome! I have an award for you.

  3. I'm with Iggy... I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up!

  4. It's encouraging to hear adults say such positive things about youth. I think with all the things we learn about via our media-saturated society, we get discouraged. Saddened. Hopeless. I think as we mature into adults, just as our parents did and our grandparents did....we start to see the mistakes and hazards that the youth experience. We start to write them off as not having any sense and mismanaging their opportunities to the point of ruining their future.

    Some will.

    But some are just kids, feeling their way through life. Just like us. And they'll be fine. :)

    But I have learned that they'll only hit that "right path" with positive reinforcement instead of the beat down they get from most adults now adays. So I will try harder. Promise.


Say word.