With apologies to Pete Townshend of The Who, who first penned those words, the kids are alright.
Watching the short DVDs made by Harwood Union Middle School students to record their experiences during Tropical Storm Irene and afterwards was an affirmation that these kids and their generation are pretty damn fantastic.
The idea of interviewing each other and other community members about their experiences during Irene, the flooding and the aftermath was a great one and one that will stand and provide insight 100 or 200 or 500 years from now.
But to watch the interviews and hear the students’ words interspersed with still pictures and videos clips of the devastation and the recovery is to see just how involved these kids – middle-schoolers – were in the recovery process.
In the aftermath of the flooding, the start of Harwood Union and other schools was delayed for a week due to the flooding and the roads and the cleanup. From Warren to Waterbury people hits the streets to help dig out and clean up. Working elbow to elbow with the grownups were kids of every size and age.
Thinking back on that critical first week, it’s remarkable that the people in the streets ranged in age from grownups down to young children. Kids of all ages were evident and they were evident for long days of hard work which they did willingly and which they did for an entire week until it was determined that the dusty miasma that helpers were breathing was not appropriate for them.
The middle-schoolers’ interviews on their DVDs remind us of just how much these kids helped and how they didn’t hesitate and that they wanted to help their communities. To a student, everyone spoke of pitching in to help clean up in the aftermath.
Were they led by their parents to help? Sure, parents absolutely set the example by coming to help, but listening to the words the kids use to describe how and why and what they did, it is clear that they understood what they were doing and why and that it was important to them.
It is striking and inspiring and hopeful to behold this next generation of kids that will never have to be taught what community means because they define it.
The kids are alright. (Thanks, Pete.)