Where have all the nice people gone?

Recently, a young girl in Edmonton died from overdosing on ecstacy pills at a monthly dance party event at West Edmonton Mall.  The girl reportedly took an alrming SIX pills.  It’s alarming enough that fourteen-year olds are taking ecstacy in the first place.  It’s a chemical drug that I barely even knew trhe existence of when I was fourteen.  And to give most people in my grade the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure that most people in my grade weren’t doing drugs either.  Yet, because of this incident, it came out that teen dealers hang out at West Edmonton Mall all the time, selling drugs to their schoolmates; and everyone – everyone – at this dance party thing, is high on E and other drugs.  Some kids said it’s just something ‘everyone knows’.  When I was fourteen, everyone knew the words to “Land of the Silver Birch”.  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating – and anyway, most of the kids in my grade weren’t “nice” either, in a way.  But I guess they were nicer than the kids I see today around me – on the bus blowing spit balls, talking back to strangers on the street, loitering after hours in the mall and wearing designer clothes, all of them with cell phones and expensive haircuts, just chilling out, parentless and alone.  They all swear like truckers, they all listen to violent music… I sound old when I say this, but whatever happened to youth anyway?  When did the culture of caring and nurturing turn into a culture of complete and total apathy?  It breaks my heart to think about all of these kids, living like the lost boys in Peter Pan, acting like complete wayward homeless old people, with no one and nowhere to go.

And kids who aren ‘t in desolate situations, “normal” kids from middle-high income homes and two parents, seem to have this sense of entitlement.  They seem to demand attention and money and favors and feel they deserve all of these things, just for being alive.  When I was fourteen, I shopped at Sears.  And I didn’t ever expect to own designer jeans, or even jeans from Gap, unless they were on sale.  And so in my eyes, that is a normal childhood.

The cliche is that “all the good ones are taken” but it’s not a cliche for nothing.  Around me lately, I only ever seem to find men who are assholes, never men who don’t know how to treat a girl like she’s special.  I’m sure several men would disagree with me, but… I’ve never heard a guy in my social circle (or very rarely, anyways) heard a guy compliment a girl, or really listen to her.  I thought I saw glimmers of it once, but I was wrong.  And too often I see a guy get what he wants and then NEVER call a girl again.  And that’s not an issue of being a stupid girl – that’s stupidity on the part of the guy, being unable to own up to his own choices.  There are no nice guys anymore.  Is it because men are too guarded to demonstrate their emotions?  Or because they think it’s somehow attractive to be a useless prick?  You know what’s attractive?  Kindness.  Respect.  A good heart and a smile that matches.  Goodness.  Niceness.  It’s so hard to find those qualities and I personally love them in a man, or anyone really.

And yet, so few of those people exist.  I’m lucky enough to have so many of them in my life – my friends are amazing and I’ve had some kind professors and my parents are kind people.  I read books by kind-hearted, empathetic authors and I think I write about kind, empathetic people.  Society today so often rejects these qualities; reality shows pit people against each other and they’re all about competition.  Drama in a television show has to be animosity, fighting, breakups, anger, and so on.  The news is always presenting negative fear-mongering.  I don’t want to hear about the deadly flu… I want to hear about the woman who donated her last dollars to cancer research, and the man who visited his brother in prison every day.  I want to read about a kid who chased a rainbow, or the person who rescues animals for a living.  That’s what I value.  Heart.  Kindness.  And it seems harder to believe that anyone else feels this way.  I know some people have it in them to be kind– at least, I’d like to believe they do.  And I know they have a heart in there somewhere.  I just want to see it, and feel it again.  It’s there.  Right?

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