Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fighting Teenage Affluenza

Catholic High Schools are often criticized as being bastions of the elite. For some this may ring true. We are aware that many among us work with the economically depressed every day. My own school serves an economically diverse population but does enroll a disproportionate amount of the city's wealthy children.

As a first year teacher I had the joy of tutoring a young man who came from a two doctor home. He was as innocent and ignorant as any fifteen year old. He constantly reminded me that his parents had promised to buy him a $60,000 Lexus when he turned sixteen. They kept their word. His $60,000 Lexus (at three times my salary at the time) stood out when passing the faculty lot filled with rusty gremlins and family wagons. What struck me when working with this young man was his complete lack of appreciation for how materially blessed he was.

How do we reach the large number of students who fail to have a global understanding of how blessed they are to live in the United States. Do they have any understanding at all of what the rest of the world faces? We preach social justice and solidarity with a preferential option for the poor. How do we teach these principles to the young men and women of privilege that walk our halls?

How do we breakthrough? Some of us must be having success on this end. What are you doing please share. I stumbled across the video below and have been sharing it with my teachers to push them to make the point.

2 comments:

Charlie A. Roy said...

I personally love this video. We've shared it at numerous faculty meetings and it has been a popular discussion starter with our students.

John James said...

This video looks like a great way to bridge the subject of wealth and the contrast between the haves and the have nots. I'll be passing it along to my social justice teachers. Much kudos for sharing.