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The Suburbanite
  • Teens can teach us something, too

  • I always try to paint with a broad brush, but sometimes I mess up and use one that’s too narrow.

    Last week I offered the opinion that we should all listen to our elders because their years of experience with just about everything in the world gives them a perspective that is much broader – and better — than ours.

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  • I always try to paint with a broad brush, but sometimes I mess up and use one that’s too narrow.
    Last week I offered the opinion that we should all listen to our elders because their years of experience with just about everything in the world gives them a perspective that is much broader – and better — than ours.
    But I omitted something. People at the other end of the age scale – teens – should have been included, because they can also teach us a lot about the world. That realization came after reading Carolynn Mostyn’s story in last week’s Suburbanite about Josh Miller. He’s my new hero.
    If you missed it, Miller, a Green resident and a junior at Walsh Jesuit High School, collected 185 teddy bears of all kinds to send to New Jersey for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
    He did so because, as an 8-year-old in 2005 moving with his family from Massachusetts to Florida, the moving van flipped over during the high winds of Hurricane Wilma, spilling the family possessions along Interstate 95. The family lost virtually everything.
    Having gone though that, Miller had tremendous empathy for the children who lost all they had when Sandy blew through and destroyed much in its path. He took the money he was collecting for a trip to Italy he had been selected to take later this year and used it to buy teddy bears for kids who no longer have theirs.
    We’ve all been juniors in high school. For some of us, it’s hard to remember that far back, but kids that age have not changed. They want stuff. The more they get, the better they feel. It’s a game. If they have more stuff than their friends, they win. And it’s good to win. Everybody wants to win.
    A trip to Italy? That’s some pretty cool stuff. If a kid acquires that, he’s pretty much a champion.
    So for Miller to get the idea on his own to give up what could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy to help kids he has never met, it’s about as good as it gets. I hope you were tremendously impressed by that.
    It makes all of us adults feel better about the future. If there’s one Josh Miller out there, there has to be more. And the more Josh Millers there are, the better the world will be.
    But forget about adults for a minute. It’s the kids we really have to be concerned about. Hopefully, Miller’s act will spawn other such acts of kindness, benevolence, good will and selflessness from those his age. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
    Miller probably has no idea what he’s done. To him, he was simply doing what was in his heart and soul. He didn’t think it was a big deal.
    Page 2 of 2 - He is probably surprised by his new celebrity and would be stunned to learn that some of us gray-haired people in the area believe he has truly moved mountains.
    Here’s betting this is not the last we hear from Miller. He’s off to great start.
    Thank you, Josh Miller. You gave all of us a belated Christmas present, one that’s better than anything tangible we received.
    Yes, we need to listen to and learn from our elders, but we need to also make sure we’re paying attention when the Josh Millers of the world show that being wise and worldly is not really age-specific after all.