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Class reveals true nature of ‘kids these days’

Kevin Hager, FHMP faculty member, jokes with students while out covering the Symphony in the Flint Hills site they day before the event. The abundance of rain in the weeks leading up to the event made getting around the site messy during the few days before the event. (Photo by Amy DeVault)
Kevin Hager, FHMP faculty member, jokes with students while out covering the Symphony in the Flint Hills site they day before the event. The abundance of rain in the weeks leading up to the event made getting around the site messy during the few days before the event. (Photo by Amy DeVault)

Young people these days are lazy, self-centered and selfish. They fear hard work and feel entitled. They don’t like to meet new people or talk to strangers. They have no oral communication skills because their heads are buried in their phone textin’, Tweetin’, Snap Chattin’ and Instagramin’. And wow, they are so judgmental of people who live in “Hicksville”.  Why would anyone want to live in “Hicksville”?

If that is your impression of young people, you are hanging with the wrong crowd.

As someone who has been around for a decade or two — okay five, I have met and worked with a lot of folks of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. So I’ve been around. This is my third year helping with the Flint Hills Media Project. And as with the other two, I go into it fingers crossed, and come out of it shaking my head with amazement.

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These kids are not selfish or lazy. They can have a real conversation. They are not afraid to talk to people.  They do work hard, though some more than others (you know who you are). And while they may have gone in a little judgmental, they come out having met people they wish they were a little more like.

Teaching is only a part of what us lowly professors are asked to do. But for me, teaching and working with students is by far my favorite part. Not necessarily the classes filled with PowerPoints, lectures, books and papers.  But the classes I enjoy the most are where they go out and create magic. They set lofty goals and try things that might seem a little crazy.

I have seen them take off for the Flint Hills in cars I am not sure I would even ride in across town, let alone take on a road trip. And they would come back dirty, hungry, tired and excited about the things they saw, and people they met. Then they would go do it again the next day.

I have seen them stumped by technology. And spend hours, figuring it out on their own.

I have seen them pitch in and help others, even if it wasn’t their responsibility.

And I have seen them develop relationships and friendships that will not end with the class. Relationships with people they may have had in class, or seen on campus, but never took the time to get to know.  This is an experience where those who survive it have a special bond.

I have always been one to try to create a relationship after graduation with students.  Classes like this make that easy. My hope is that when they get word of my passing many years from now, they think to themselves … “I kinda remember him from the Flint Hills Media Project … jeez I loved that class.”

— Kevin Hager