Saturday, 26 February 2011

Youth is wasted on the young

My 16 year old has returned from a 5 day trip to New York. Was he excited and enthralled by his maiden voyage across the Atlantic to the  "concrete jungle where dreams are made of"?
Not in any way I can tell.

My mother and I have been badgering him in breathless tones to spill the beans on the Big Apple but he appears nonchalant. Yes the skyscrapers are neck-breaking, the malls are huge and sprawling (when compared to little old London) and yellow cabs drive on the wrong side of the road.
Concrete boredom

What about the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and riding on the subway? 
My jet lagged teenager yawned and said it was "okay". Apparently New York (in his opinion) was not the trip of a lifetime - it was cold (below freezing and snowing a few days) and he didn't have enough money to get all the things he wanted to. Since he didn't mix with any of the natives (and only his school party) I don't feel he's had much of a travel experience. It's just another urban landscape not dissimilar to the one he lives in. He told me that he already  had some idea about New York from looking it up on the internet and would have preferred to visit in the summer. 
Summer in a heavily polluted city? I don't think so!

My son is not very different to any other teen.  He's been born into a world of opportunity and enjoys all the comforts of Western civilisation that includes indulgent parenting. He has an awareness of poverty and hardship but it's all a far cry from his own life experience. I hope life continues to bless him and that one day on his life's journey he will be challenged to think deeper and broaden his mind.
A slice of Granma Smith
As he matures, I hope he reflects on the innovation that has enabled travel and information to seem so common place and someday he may think that going to New York was pretty cool!

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