These days many have a poor opinion of our youth and specifically the overall lack of respect for others. My experience is different and I would like to offer my view from “the other side”.

Nothing says more about a person than looking them straight in the eye and greeting them with a firm handshake. As an experienced baseball coach, brownie parent, karate dad, and short order cook, I have had the privilege to meet and interact with children from different ages, nationalities and diverse family backgrounds.

I am both proud and flattered when these youths recognize me at a distance and come up to me with an outstretched hand followed by “Hey Mr. Jensen, how are you”. Maybe I am old fashioned but it gives me a warm squishy feeling inside.

Recognize that to many of us, this is a normal routine and most of all familiar activity however to a young person, greeting an adult is a risky venture filled with unknowns. It is part of the journey we all take to adulthood. It takes courage for these young people to initiate contact outside of their peer group especially in a public setting with their peers. I find it comforting that these young people will someday be taking our place as parents and leaders of the community.

In parting, let me say that you can tell a lot about a person from their handshake and by the way they greet you. The next time you see a teenager, look past their clothes, hair and especially the earrings (I still don’t understand the attraction for men to get earrings), reach out and offer your hand. This simple gesture of fellowship opens the lines of communication. Shake a teenagers hand, look into their eyes and witness their soul. You will be glad you did.

”Family Man”
Hugh Jensen

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