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Youths: Learning From Positive Feedback

November 24, 1994

I am tired of hearing negative things about the youth of today. Items about our young people, being pushed by the news media, are almost always negative. The media say that this is what the public wants to hear about, what sells their newspapers or broadcasts. Adults complain about the terrible pressures today's parents have: worries about drugs, gangs, drive-by shootings or HIV infecting or corrupting their children.

I have worked with the youth of the area for 25 years. Kids have not changed. What has changed is the way adults are treating today's youth. As adults, we have the task of giving our youth what they need to develop into the adults we want them to become. They need our love, respect and acknowledgment when they accomplish positive goals. We should be acknowledging their successes, and we are not.

Two years ago I managed an all-star team that won the U.S. championship and placed third in the world. We struggled to get newspeople to acknowledge this achievement. However, when one of these young men tragically took his own life, his family and the other young men on the team were flooded by the media.

In viewing the sports pages in our newspapers, I find column after column devoted to the sports labor problems but little about our high school sports programs. When I called one newspaper, I was told that the coverage given last year to high school teams had been cut out because with the strikes in the professional sports, fewer pages were needed in the sports section. Try to find a television station that gives any coverage to high school sports. They used to do it.

Until we start giving the positive responses our kids need, they will continue to turn to gangs, drugs and other negatives to get some kind of attention from us. It isn't easy, but whoever said that raising our youth would be easy? It is work, but the rewards are the greatest life has to offer, because our young people are our greatest treasures.

RON CAMPBELL

Torrance

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