chelsea cookFor those of you who think the USA is going to “hell in a handbasket,” please be advised you should alter your opinion. I recently went to a public school where some sixth graders were getting ready for a “robotics” contest to do a “bee program” as part of the contest. Now, you may ask, how do robots and bees go together? The answer. my dears, is simple. I don’t know. But it works for them so I’ll leave it to them, but now, getting back to the main topic, we shall continue.  
This small group consisted of two girls who were pretty enough to be my granddaughters and three boys who seemed to understand almost every thing I said.  The girl who stood nearest to me not only took notes but asked great questions. The other girl listened carefully and also asked good questions as did the boys. I have done several school programs but these kids made me really dig into my memory banks and knowledge brain wrinkles as their questions were sometimes so deep I had to really do mental research to answer them. Oh, yes, they all tried to take notes and i did notice they would write down things at the appropriate times to responses I made.  Actually, I was asked question by this mob that I have never been asked at the many school programs I have done. I left there a very happy old teacher.
For you cynics  out there, I know what you are thinking. Yessir, this is only one group in one school in one city in one...nevermind. If one reads the newspapers at all and look hard enough, one can find examples of kids doing marvelous things in many places. Young boys who are working on their Eagle Scout projects are doing things that adults should have thought of a long time before a young guy did. I found several stories of young people who have done or are doing great things. If you don’t like stories of young people doing the right thing, you can stop reading now. I read the Tulsa World every morning and at least one full page is covered by murders and worse crimes every day. Maybe on page 999 there will be something about a young person who is doing something great. This has always made me wonder if people would stop reading if there was “too much” good news.
Story #1: Abby Miller is a 12-year-old musician who collects donations for 4-year-old Taylor Love, who suffers from neuroblastoma, a form of cancer affecting the nervous system. Most contributions come the old fashioned way– from playing on the street with a contribution bucket nearby. All funds go to help Taylor’s family with medical expenses. Passersby typically note Abby’s talent and drop in a few bucks, wondering why a young kid would be singing in the street on a cold day. Few notice she’s singing for a cause greater than herself.  
Here is another and it is incredible. I wish I could just go hug this kid, and i wojuld too if I could do it without crying or being arrested.  “ OK, now go back and read that kid’s age again! Yessir, five years old and already doing fantastic things. "5-year-old Phoebe Russell needed to complete a community service project before she could graduate from kindergarten. Uninterested in a lemonade stand, she saw a homeless man begging for food and decided to raise $1,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. Her teacher tried to lower expectations to something more reasonable, but Phoebe’s heartwarming appeal to leave soda cans and donations at the school snowballed. Before she knew it, Phoebe had raised $3,736.30– the equivalent of 17,800 heated meals.
OK, last one for today and it is worth some parents patting themselves on the back: “Brittany and Robbie Bergquist (12 and 13, respectively) learned of a soldier who racked up an $8000 cell phone bill by calling his family from Iraq. They decided to pay the soldier’s phone bill and brought $21 to the bank to start an account. The bank manager was so impressed he added an additional $500. This encouraged them to keep trying.  The kids then held car washes and bake sales, but then decided on recycling used cell phones. With help from volunteers, they set up drop-off sites across the USA, and used the proceeds to buy prepaid phone cards for troops overseas. To date their ‘Cell Phones for Soldiers” program has collected 7.5 million phones and provided military personnel with over 90 million minutes’ worth of pre-paid airtime.”
So don’t tell me things are really bad, never been worse and little hope for the future. If we can encourage them, our kids will keep things great.