In response to Josh Allison’s Feb. 17 letter to the editor:
Dear Josh, I know this has been a difficult year, especially for students your age who had to do online learning, were unable to pursue sports, sports scholarships, hang with friends and be typical students. You are in good company with most people your age. Thank you for taking the time to express your frustration, anger and disillusionment with our country. You are right, we do have a lot of issues in our country, and we often talk around solutions and around each other, and often fail to mention good policies, acts and laws.
With the polarized atmosphere in our nation, it is way too easy to focus on the negative. Although it may be hard for you to find examples of America being good, our history is rich with examples of good that America has done. Without American help, sacrifice and ingenuity, World War ll would never have been won by the Allies.
In addition, our nation has invented many technologies we take for granted today: the mass manufacturing of the first affordable cars, trans-oceanic communication cables and the internet. It has pioneered numerous medical advances, including the polio vaccine that’s saved thousands of children’s lives and futures. There are countless other examples.
More importantly, however, look at the individuals. There is a lot of good in America, because our country isn’t just a country, it is made up of people, and there are a lot of decent and good people in it. You really don’t have to look very far to see it. On my NextDoor app, I see good things every day — people helping other people. It might be someone posting they found somebody’s lost dog, or someone who has made a bunch of masks and put them on their porch for people to come and take for free. I also know of neighbors who regularly assemble bags of hats and gloves for the homeless and church and community food collections for those who are unemployed and need a helping hand.
As a 17-year-old, you are stepping into what it means to become an adult, with the rights and responsibilities that go with it. You are looking at the future and trying to determine what your life will look like and asking questions. Again, you are in good company with those who have gone before you. We, too, needed to figure out these things, asking ourselves, “will I go to college?,” “how will I pay for it?” and “what do I need to own to pursue my dreams?”
I know you will do all you can to try to make your life go the way you want it to. But know that no one person controls their future. You can always, however, control your attitude — whether life does or doesn’t go as you want.
My advice: become a student of history — the good and the not so good — and learn from it. Minimize your social media and spend less time listening to the news. A steady diet of that can be depressing. Let your attitude be something you control instead of having it be controlled by others. Look for the good in others — chances are you will find it. Be an agent of change. Lastly, being a person of faith, I’d encourage you to read the Bible and talk to God. You may find it helps to keep things in perspective.