Perhaps every generation of geezers since Adam and Eve has whined about young people, and today is no different. Isn’t it clear that in contrast to our glorious selves, kids these days are self-absorbed Facebook junkies just a pixel deep?
No, actually that’s wrong at every level. This has been a depressing time to watch today’s “adults,” whose talent for self-absorption and political paralysis makes it difficult to solve big problems. But many young people haven’t yet learned to be cynical. They believe, in a wonderfully earnest way, in creating a better world.
In the midst of this grim summer, my faith in humanity has been restored by the saga of Rachel Beckwith. She could teach my generation a great deal about maturity and unselfishness — even though she’s just 9 years old, or was when she died on July 23.
Rachel lived outside Seattle and early on showed a desire to give back. At age 5, she learned at school about an organization called Locks of Love, which uses hair donations to make wigs for children who have lost their own hair because of cancer or other diseases. Rachel then asked to have her long hair shorn off and sent to Locks of Love.
瑞秋住在西雅图城郊，很小的时候就懂得报答。5岁那年，她在学校听说了一个名叫“一绺关爱”（Locks of Love）的组织，该组织用人们捐赠的头发制成假发，送给因癌症或其他疾病而失去头发的孩子们。于是，瑞秋剪掉长发，捐给他们。
“She said she wanted to help the cancer kids,” her mother, Samantha Paul, told me. After the haircut, Rachel announced that she would grow her hair long again and donate it again after a few years to Locks of Love. And that’s what she did.
Then when she was 8 years old, her church began raising money to build wells in Africa through an organization called charity:water. Rachel was aghast when she learned that other children had no clean water, so she asked to skip having a ninth birthday party. In lieu of presents, she asked her friends to donate $9 each to charity:water for water projects in Africa.
Rachel’s ninth birthday was on June 12, and she had set up a birthday page on the charity:water Web site with a target of $300. Alas, Rachel was able to raise only $220 — which had left her just a bit disappointed.