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Reporter editorial: Those damned kids

Young people are materialistic, in love with luxury, have atrocious manners, no respect for others and are obsessed with chatter via texting.

The mini-rant above, with a touch of modernizing, was an opinion Socrates had about 2,500 years ago.

He was a wise and tolerant fellow, but everyone’s entitled to a bad day now and then.

The point is that older generations have always shaken their heads with disappointment over “those damned kids.” Part of the reason is that the oldsters have been blinded by style and haven’t looked deeper at youngsters who are trying to make their way in the world.

An example of Shelter Island’s refuting the idea that its youth are pushing the handcart to hell was recently demonstrated by some service Shelter Island High School students offered to some of our senior citizens.

On the morning of Veterans Day, members of the Shelter Island School National Honor Society (NHS) assembled for the ceremony at the Legion, prepared with rakes and tarps. They were given an address of a senior in need of a lawn clean-up but wanted to share their service with veterans as well.

After asking the commander of the Mitchell Post, Dave Clark, and a few other members, the NHS had addresses of those who could use a hand. They raked the front lawn of Legion Women’s Auxiliary President Pam Jackson’s house, prepared the home of Linda Holmes for her return from San Simeon (welcome home, Linda), and raked the front lawn of Robert and Mollie Srugats.

The students present for all or part of the day were: NHS members Henry Binder, Amelia Clark, Lyng Coyne, Emma Gallagher, Abby Kotula, Kal Lewis, Daniel Martin, Lucas Quigley-Dunning, Lauren Gurney, Tyler Gulluscio, Nicholas Mamisashvili, and Jane Richards. Friends of the NHS, Junior Gil and Zeb Mundy, also pitched in.

And recently, members of the NHS held a “Cardboard Campout,” staying outside on the school grounds from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The idea was to have some fun sleeping outside on a bitter November night — ah, youth — but also to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds and/or restores houses for those in need.

We should also mention Janine Mahoney, the Honor Society’s adviser, for inspiring the students to strive for community involvement.

Socrates, a teacher himself, invented a method of questioning students, rather than browbeating them with accepted wisdom. He taught that to move the world, first move yourself, an idea that seems alive at Shelter Island School.