I recently read an interview with Clint Eastwood in GQ magazine. He is the director and producer of Invictus, a movie coming out in December about the 1995 South African rugby team; I blogged about it a few posts ago. When the article asked why he was driven to do this movie, he mentioned that the way South Africa was fourteen years ago reminds him a lot of the United States in present day. Not in every way of course, and not literally. But he is right. The state of mind is a bit depressed this day and age, wouldn’t you say? I know the recession is a reality and for many has been life altering in a negative way, but I think we can use a bit of optimism and learn from some other nations who have really been through the ringer. Mr. Eastwood says, “We’re becoming more juvenile as a nation. The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits.” Now I certainly don’t wholeheartedly agree with this statement especially since I’d like to teach those so-called teenagers he is referring to, however, I do think that we shouldn’t give up on our youth and that we can still mold them into responsible human beings who will take this country far. As teachers it is important to encourage our students to see what it’s like on the other side of the fence and especially to know that the grass isn’t always greener. It takes a lot of experiences, and many times mistakes, to realize this. Last week in my Educational Psychology class there was a question about our responsibility as teachers, specifically, should there be a curriculum requirement for service learning. I responded with a zealous, “YES, OF COURSE!” naively assuming that everyone felt that way. I wrote how it is our responsibility to shine some light and open some eyes for students who don’t have the drive or resources to see what else is out there. My professor explained that he believes service learning is a great experience for students, but that you just aren’t going to save everyone. He is a school psychologist here in South Jersey and he brings up the issue of social services in schools quite often. Perhaps I have lack of experience and as my years a teacher go on I will see things more frankly, but I can’t help but think that exposing students to others’ cultures and circumstances will only do more good than harm for them, and for we teachers as well. Let’s not be discouraged by the text messaging maniacs, but show them what is hard in life, how to deal with it, and how to conquer it.