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I try to find the best in any situation. Call it my survival instinct, optimism, glass half-full attitude or naïveté, but I believe things happen for a reason. That’s the viewpoint I’m taking on the current economic outlook. It’s affecting 99.9% of the country in one way or another. Higher gas and food prices, fuel surcharges added to items you didn’t even know required fuel and a reduction in business for many companies which leads to lay-offs or other cut-backs.So what good can we possibly find in these times? Believe it or not, I think it can very well save our young before we as a society totally ruin them. With examples of what teen life “should” look like on television their expectations of life are nothing short of warped. With such shows as “My Super Sweet 16” and the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and others who flaunt wasteful spending; we’ve allowed it to become a full-fledged crisis in our own communities. Teenagers don’t want to re-wear clothing; expect to carry purses that cost in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars and drive cars better than their parents drive. And we let them get away with it! We feel that we’re bad parents if they whine; cry or if one of their friends is driving a new model car. We aren’t teaching them any social graces what-so-ever. In my own small world many years ago, one girl stands out as having it all handed to her. The latest and greatest in clothes, make-up and everything her heart desired. She was beautiful and… cruel. Now she looks years older than her actual age, and lives a miserable life. Why? Because no one taught her compassion for others, how to share what she had and to build a meaningful life for after her looks were gone. There’s not a kind, gracious thing about her. She still wants to be spoiled and the center of attention so she’s left without friends, a job or the material things she so greatly depended on for so many years. Now can you imagine this happening to the majority of a generation? Yes, there are still some lovely young souls out there that volunteer, don’t think they need their nails done every week or to drive a better car than their folks but they are quickly becoming the minority.

Let’s hope as we’re forced to make cutbacks during this recession, the first items to go are non-essentials for the teens. Encourage them to work part-time jobs and to learn to budget their money for their fashion needs. If not, I think technology and the medical fields won’t be the big industries to be in – I think it will be rehab facilities.