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Is Youth Wasted On The Young?

Sep 9, 2008
If I had my youth to live over, I'd do a few things differently - like eating. I'd focus less on peer groups and more on basic food groups. I'd eat more fruits and vegetables and less fat and sugar. In an attempt to help today's youth eat this way, McDonald's now offers fruit as dessert and fruit juice as an alternative for soda. It's McDonald's attempt to provide healthier - but not as happy - meals.

John Losey, an entomologist at Cornell University, wants to provide America's youth with an opportunity to be scientists in his "Lost Ladybug Project". Ladybugs play an important role in agricultural pest control, but some species common 20 years ago seem in danger of extinction. For example, the "nine spot" ladybug, the state insect of New York, hasn't been seen in New York for 15 years. To help create a national data base, children twelve and under are being asked to take digital pictures of ladybugs they see and e-mail them to Cornell. The project's Web site suggests refrigerating the ladybugs before taking their pictures to slow their movements. It seems chilling out is a scientific principal.

It seems a "gap year" is a student sabbatical. It's what students are taking between high school and college. Some students use the year to pursue passions - like learning martial arts in China. Others try something new - like rehabilitating penguins in South Africa. The growing popularity of gap years has produced programs costing up to $20,000. Although a gap year is meant to provide students with more maturity and self-confidence, students who can't afford them can get the same benefits working a "Gap" year in retail.

Although youth is a time for building independence, almost 14 million adult children live at home. According to the latest census, 56% of boomerangers between ages 18 and 24 are men and 43% are women. Unfortunately, college degrees don't improve the situation. Sixty-five percent of recent college graduates moved back with their parents. The reasons for this boomerang phenomenon are high unemployment, college loan debt, personal problems - and wanting their parents' lifestyle. The most important thing parents can do to help these children is not sacrifice their own financial future. Children have decades to build financial security, but parents may be just a few years from retirement - or a few years from living with their children and starting a new phenomenon - ricochet parents.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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