What teens can do

The BP Editorial Board

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Around this time of year, Dr. Yoss’ AP World History class rings with analysis of the American, French, and other numerous revolutions of the late 18th century.  Mr. Feld’s Modern Middle East students absorb the constant chaos of oil country halfway across the globe, and our Just Community’s very own Israel Action Committee gives us weekly updates on how we can help our Mediterranean brethren.

What do the American rebels of the 1700s, Egyptian and Libyan protestors of the past few weeks, and Shalhevet’s IAC have in common?  All three boast efforts predominately spearheaded by young adults, or as we prefer to call ourselves, teens.

With modern-age weapons including Facebook and Twitter, teens hold more sway than ever before.  We can release news to the eyes of the world with a simple cell-phone.  Affirming the incredible potential of social media, a totalitarian government’s first order of business is to shut off Internet access to its population when protests arise.  Even the Chinese government realizes the capabilities of the Internet; the “Great Firewall” restricts access to Google and Twitter, for example.

And this is all in addition to the more traditional displays of power we have used —mass organization through protests and letter writing, which many of us have joined in for Israel and for pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran –  and or even voting within our Just Community.

But do we utilize all this mind-boggling capability we possess? Thankfully, many teens step up to the challenges of today’s messy world, as exemplified by a sampling of Los Angeles 16-year-olds who demonstrated, set up Facebook groups, and informed friends on the happenings of Egypt (see story, page 15).  One of them took a photograph that became an emblem of the Egyptian revolution worldwide.

Specifically to our school, Shalhevet’s graduation requirements push seniors to take on a project that serves the community in some way; projects include filming a documentary on the world’s religious conflicts and training seeing eye dogs, to name just two. There will be no Nobel Peace prizes for these undertakings, but hey, we’re all somewhere between 14 and 18 at Shalhevet, and nobody expects us to solve world hunger in our spare time.  At the same time, these projects are important steps toward realizing the potential we all hold. Who says you have to wait until senior year to take charge and accomplish something?

We all have hobbies, interests and connections.  With just a little effort and a few calls, crowds of peers and even adults will line up to help any cause with their time and resources.  We know this.  We’ve seen it from Race for the Cure to the annual blood drive to aid collected last year for Haiti.

Just look over at what’s happened in Egypt over the past month.  A nation of over 80 million citizens almost completely united and overthrew a powerful dictator who had enforced fear and complacency for over 30 years.

Who pushed the Egyptian revolution onto the streets?  Young Egyptians.

Who fired the first shots at Lexington and Concord in 1775?  Teenage soldiers risking their lives and limbs for independence.

Nobody is insisting that we all protest or overthrow our government here, but why not use our freedoms and rights to their fullest and help a cause.  Any cause.

We have the power.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email