March 17, 2008

AT 19

Ever since Bubba said that I'd be lying if I thought I wasn't self-absorbed when I was 19, I have been trying to remember my life at 19. I managed to come up with a few things that I did that year as a freshman in college taking 34 credit hours. I belonged to a Big Sisters program and mentored a little girl. I took high schoolers on a mission trip to rebuild houses. I volunteered for a gay rights group. I ate lunch once a month with the Kiwanis Club. I raised money for the Crop Walk. I loaned a boy in my dorm $600 when he needed to get his car repaired. And I began knitting, starting with a baby blanket for a nice couple who'd struggled to have their first baby.

Was I less mature then than I am now? Of course. But would I have had the sense and common decency to know how to behave and grieve if someone got shot? Get real.

There are 19 year olds out there who have far more responsibility and maturity than I did at that age. Many of them are serving in the military. Some of them are even parents. Those young men and women don't deserve condescension.

Gunnar Becker gave his life for his country at 19. Self-absorbed? Not even close.

Posted by Sarah at March 17, 2008 04:53 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Gunnar's sister wrote this about her brother, on the 3rd anniversary of his death. I quote........."For those of you who do not know anything about Gunnar I will describe his character with the best of my abilities. Gunnar was not a star athlete. Also, he was by no means an honor student. Popularity was not something that was a necessity in his life. But he was real. He always believed in who he was as a person and where he was going to get himself. He was true to his friends and honest with his family.''
Because his little sister (honestly) knew Gunnar, better, than anyone else, in this world, I feel compelled, to share her thoughts.
Gunnar's Mom
aka
debey

Posted by: debey at March 17, 2008 07:00 PM

Well, you see, it's so very easy to make a blanket statement that everyone is or does a certain thing. No thought is required, just the pronouncement from on high... why we're meant to believe the pronouncement is unclear - but the person doing the pronouncing in most cases seems determined to fit everyone into whatever little slot is on the agenda.

Whenever the words "everyone is" or "everyone does" enter the discussion, the argument is automatically invalid. Because there is never a case when "everyone" does something... no matter what that thing is.

As you have noted, it can't even be said that all 19 year olds are immature. Clearly some are more mature than others. Some are ready for responsibility, some are compassionate. It depends on the person.

Posted by: Teresa at March 18, 2008 04:32 PM

The degree of self-absorption, or not, that a person has surely depends to some degree on his experiences. I think the extended years of education to which more and more people are exposed probably contributes to increased self-absorption. If you're in business or the military, the purpose of your work is the customer, or the product, or the mission. But if you're in school, the purpose of your work is your *own* self development...*you* are the product, so to speak.

Posted by: david foster at March 18, 2008 06:22 PM

Sir, yes sir! I'm agreeing with you, but I don't think everybody do. You should not be so rude, it frightens of.

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Posted by: john at April 6, 2008 04:03 PM