I wonder what goes on in the minds of a young girl or a young boy these days when they officially become a teenager?
My oldest granddaughter turned 13 this week and, although I talk with her about her days at school, life at home with her sister, her friends and more, we usually don't talk about the national news. My grandparents never talked to me about the news, but her parents do and my parents did, especially when watching the TV news.
Walter Cronkite kept me clued in to what was going on in Vietnam, with Roger Mudd and Dan Rather giving reports from the war. Of course, it was a situation I was concerned about with my older brother being 16 and wondering if he might be heading off to war in a few years.
I wonder what my granddaughter really thinks about all the current racial tension, police shootings and political wrangling? I do know that she wanted a new president to be elected and she gets her questions answered by her parents about the first two issues.
The news stories may change over generations but there remain issues in America that teenagers start thinking about more seriously than when they were younger.
Looking back at the news during the week before I turned 13, I remember the seizure of Alcatraz Island by a group of American Indians which lasted over 19 months; the reelection of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and the unrest in that country; the investigation into the My Lai Massacre; the launch of another NASA Apollo Mission, Apollo 12 with crew members Pete Conrad, Richard Gordon and Alan Bean – less than six months after the first Moon landing; and the half million protesters marching on Washington, D.C. calling for the end of the Vietnam War.
There was a lot to think about then, as there is a lot to think about now for my granddaughter and her 13-year-old friends.
Somehow things work out but sometimes not without tragedy, either then or later, but learning about what is happening in the country and world provides young minds with information to act to change things for the better.
Grandfathers hope for a better world for their grandchildren.