Attended a charity event last night for a very worthwhile cause: a youth shelter. The shelter does great work helping troubled teens, and I fully support it. I was also pleased to hear someone from the University saying it was important for the university to support the shelter because the university should be there for all youth, not just the ones lucky enough to attend university.
However, I was troubled when the dinner featured some of the major sponsors explaining why they supported the shelter, and almost every one of them said something like "We need to help these young people, because these 'youth are our future'". And at some level, the constant repetition of that last phrase really annoyed me. Because here is the thing: Youth are not important because they are going to grow up some day; they're important, they have worth, now.
It really troubles me to hear kids talked about as some sort of commodity in a futures market. "Let's invest in them now because it could pay off big in the future!" I don't actually care if any of them grow up to be "important" contributors to society. Or the equally annoying suggestion that a small amount invested in shelters now will reduce the higher costs of jails and rehab for them in the future. How about we just help them because they need help? Because it's the right thing to do? Because it takes a community to raise a child and its our responsibility to help?
Heard a line on "Damages" last night that may apply here: "Parents can only be as happy as their saddest child".