Teens believe they are going to change the world

Today I judged a prestigious contest for high school seniors. The most awesome part was talking to teens just months before they graduate from high school and head off to college. As I engaged them in conversation I noticed a theme — extreme optimism.

At least four of the teens told me straight out and quite convincingly that they are going to change the world. One said he’s going to do it through the video games he develops. Another is going to do it through the surgical skills she plans to learn and apply to those wounded in the military. Yet another plans to make films aimed at teaching self esteem and confidence to young girls. A friend of mine, a judge in another category, told me one of her teen candidates declared she’s going to change the world when she becomes a Supreme Court Justice.

It could be very possible that one or all them change the world.

But as a parent of teens, the experience made me think that I should capture my kids on video tape right before they graduate high school. It’s the time of one’s life when the world seems so promising and optimism is at its peak. If I had videoed myself just a few months prior to high school graduation, what would I have said and how would I have expressed myself? I think it would be enlightening to watch.

If you have a teen about to graduate, whip out that video camera, ask him or her some questions about the future and let it roll. A decade from now, your child might say the same thing on video, but definitely not with the same wide-eyed sense of excitement they would right now. I guarantee both of you will enjoy watching it together one day in the future — especially if they do change the world!


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