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Cafe Society to discuss why many Americans are struggling

By Staff | May 5, 2017

At its next session on Tuesday, the Cafe Society will discuss some of the reasons why so many young people enter adult life with little prospect of success in today’s increasingly competitive world. The previous discussion on rationale for consideration of Universal Military Training resulted in extensive dialog on how many would benefit from the discipline and basic grounding in social skills provided by either military training or alternative public service disciplines where they could find themselves and make some contribution to our society – to learn or more fully understand what it means to be an U.S. citizen.

The perception of this increasing need is based on disarming trends in the viability of American families in which children are not raised in a nurturing environment where they learn essential values, work ethics, and social skills necessary for a full and rewarding life. Our society concentrates too much on a minority of fortunate young people who are fully prepared, encouraged, and substantially supported in their quest for a meaningful career. The fact that you don’t win every time you compete doesn’t mean that you are a loser.

The expectation that every young person who does not complete college is somehow a failure is in itself harmful. There are many very rewarding careers in which individuals make meaningful contributions to our society, and lead a full and productive life that do not require a college degree. In many cases the timing of pursuit of higher education makes a significant difference where work experience helps an individual to mature and make realistic decisions for themselves and often their young families. We are in too much of a hurry, too quick to judge. Let young families and particularly young parents (single or otherwise) learn from their mistakes, get up and try again, but lend a patient hand and encouragement. In the end they benefit from knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and set more meaningful and attainable goals.

These informal discussions are held every Tuesday morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center. There are no fees and registration is not required.

Facilitator Mike Austin said, “In one of our recent discussion we talked about the elements of our ‘American Character’ and things like individualism, indomitable spirit, resourcefulness, tenacity, and a sense of personal worth were mentioned. We also talked about equality and a love for the ‘underdog’. Some of these feelings and values were evidenced in the recent elections, and concern about how well the interests of the average American were served by our political process. With Federal and State budgets under great pressure many policies and programs that provide encouragement and assistance are on the cutting block. We need to look critically at those important areas where public funds are used constructively to help our citizens have a reasonable chance to succeed, to gain self reliance and the satisfaction that goes with it. That’s our topic for next week.”