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Letter to the Editor

“And a Child Shall Lead Them”

web posted November 24, 2008
Dear Editor,
Who could have ever determined the current economic state of affairs for the United States and the rest of the world?  When you find any one of the four or 5 people who predicted this economic downturn, please do me a favor and ask them what this means to the Young World.  Or better yet, can someone please answer this question for me on behalf of the Young World, “How will today’s economy impact the Young World?”
Immediately, the attention turns to Christmas, gifts and holiday surprises.  But way beyond the next couple of months, what will come of this up and down, topsy-turvy financial market? 
Considering the short term, Christmas will still be Christmas.  Perhaps the uncertainty of the market, job insecurities and faltering family finances will cause a sense of renewal about the true essence of Christmas – that’s not necessarily a bad thing!  Maybe, just maybe, a few young people won’t have quite the bountiful harvest of presents that they’ve enjoyed in past years.  There will most likely be a few young people expecting nothing this Christmas; but the true kindness of our community will shine through.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s just say that the short term picture is more about what “things” the Young World will be getting or not as a result of the unpredictable economy and job market.  And, let’s face it, for MANY young people, that is saying quite a mouthful.
Is it possible that WE (when it’s capitalized, that means everybody), can determine a long-term impact of today’s economy on the Young World?  In five years, what will a retrospective look at 2008 mean for the high school graduating class of 2009?  Five years from now, many of the current year’s seniors will be graduating from college with an undergraduate degree and thousands of dollars in student loan debt.  Will the activity of 2008 negatively or positively impact the Class of 2009’s ability to find a job or secure sufficient funds to matriculate toward a college degree?
Five years from now, will current 8th grade students change their minds about college plans because of skyrocketing school sums?  Five years from now, should current fifth graders even expect the joy and jubilation that should come with their “first job”?
It is very difficult for the Young World to look forward five years, or ten years.  Many adults can’t properly articulate a personal “Five Year Plan”.  Given the difficulty of planning and preparing for the next five or ten years in prosperous times, it is even more essential that time is tediously taken to trace a trail that creates opportunity for the Young World. 
The Young World absolutely must learn from the current state of affairs to be aware of alternative solutions, should we ever find ourselves here again; even better, an enlightened Young World may even be able to avoid this type of situation when they assume the leadership roles.
Who knows?  Maybe a resurgence from this recession may create an unexpectedly positive effect.  Quite possibly, colleges may begin to compete heavily for good students and provide more incentives, like reduced tuition, more scholarships, 3 year degree programs, etc.
Chris Dinkins
Spartanburg, SC

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