“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

Does that sound familiar?

Today, the news media is filled with stories concerning the problems with young people—— from drugs to underage sex to gang membership. However, the concern for young people is nothing new. Reports of youths being out of control can be traced throughout history. The above quote is attributed to Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived around 350 BC.

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

Does that sound familiar?

Today, the news media is filled with stories concerning the problems with young people—— from drugs to underage sex to gang membership. However, the concern for young people is nothing new. Reports of youths being out of control can be traced throughout history. The above quote is attributed to Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived around 350 BC.

Over the years as a newspaper reporter and editor I have found myself on more than one occasion discouraged by the direction in which it appeared our young people were headed. Even as a young person myself way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I wondered what the future held for our great nation when the Woodstock Generation of drugs, sex and rock and roll moved to the forefront of our American culture.

Well, generations have passed since the days of Socrates and the Hippy commune has come and gone but civilization as we know it still remains.

Each summer my faith in young people is restored when numerous church youth groups arrive in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County to work on various projects in our area. Their ages range from 14 to 18 and they do a wide variety of work that includes teaching swimming lessons and helping with badly needed as well as difficult construction projects such as building handicap ramps.

It is very difficult work, especially in the oppressive Arkansas Delta heat. Yet, these young people are willing to give up their cushy time off from school and put away their smart-phones, I-pads and video games to help those in need. Many sacrificed other opportunities in which they could have made money.

Each summer, the Church of Christ congregation at Cypert provides a group of young people working in Phillips County to a hamburger and hot dog cookout complete with all the trimmings. On July 12, a group of about 70 teens and their supervisors from Kansas City, Missouri, San Antonio, Dallas and Katy, Texas were the guests of the local church.

The somewhat “older” generation had the pleasure of sharing Christian camaraderie with one of the most polite and wholesome group of young people this writer has encountered in quite some time. Before the meal, the group participated in the singing of hymns and a game of Bible Trivia in which several displayed their knowledge of the Scriptures.

When it came time to pray, several volunteered to do so in front of a group of strangers they had never met before.

This group of young people didn't form a clique and stick together during their visit but rather sat down and visited with members of the congregation participating in adult conversations and sincerely inquiring about the welfare of the people there.

These young people brought this writer back to realty that there really are more good people in this great big world than bad. These young people offered an example of living a Christ-centered life of sharing and helping their fellowman.

I am still saddened when I read or see a news report about a teen involved in a killing or a drug deal. However, I have become painfully aware of what they are missing in this life – the love of God. Without love and compassion this world is not going to make it. These young people that came to Phillips County this summer will make a difference. They are the leaders of tomorrow.

May God bless them all in their future endeavors. They have already made this world a much better place to live.

In his day, Socrates apparently saw young people as half-empty glass of water. Perhaps, we need to look closer and view them as a glass of water that is half full.