Random Thoughts: Fresh Air

Sometimes I stumble across things on the Internet, and I think that there is hope for the future — specifically for the future of my children. Watch enough iDisney shows or American Pie/Superbad movies, and you can easily despair.

For example, an online newsmagazine I read linked to this blog by a high school senior. She is attempting to live one month applying the “lessons” she reads in Seventeen magazine.

She seems to me a remarkably self-aware young lady, utterly unpretentious, who is setting out not to tear down Seventeen magazine, but rather to analyze it in terms of practical (or not) advice. Her latest post is even a survey of LBGT teens about their reactions to Seventeen’s general “hot guy”/straight dating vibe. It’s fascinating.

At the same time, of course, she blogged about her prom. She jokingly refers to it “the Most Important and Magical Night of My Teenage Life”, but she is gung-ho in chronicling her experience — and, hey, she has a good time.

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Of course reading Jamie’s blog made me think about my teenage self. I remember reading Seventeen and its competition Young Miss (YM). I don’t remember embracing the advice in such magazines — I viewed them much like I view the Cosmos and Glamours of today: entertainment. I don’t think that’s the cynic in me; I just never saw myself in the pages of magazines. (Except, on occasion, Poets & Writers — now there’s wishful thinking!)

I will say, about prom, looking back some *cough* years later, I am honestly glad I attended. It wasn’t life changing (of course not!) but it was a pretty good time with friends. I hope that when the time comes to send off my own girls (and, possibly, boy), I have instilled a healthy attitude about high school in general, and prom in particular. That attitude being that while this is an important time in their lives, and a semi-important event, it’s not the end-all be-all. It’s about learning (academic as well as self-discovery) and friendships. But it’s a stepping stone, not the peak.

I still haven’t reached the peak!

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Another uplifting place on the Web is Pittsburgh’s own Secret Agent L blog. SAL traipses around Pittsburgh committing random acts of kindness. She is utterly dedicated to giving people a lift through small presents and sweet words, and of course, she encourages people to, as the saying goes, “Pay it forward.” I especially love her motto, at the end of each of her posts: “Be Kind. No Exceptions.” In a world that values the snark and the petty (especially online), in a world of bad-news headlines and yelling pundits, it’s really refreshing to stumble upon someone doing good for no other reason than she likes to do good!

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What are your favorite places to go online when you need a break? What gives you hope that the future is still bright?

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