Youth and tides

I just spent a weekend with two hundred teens from all over the Pacific Northwest.  As always, it’s an odd thing, being an adult in a tight youth community, but the young people are welcoming and treat us well, and I feel honored to be included.

The thing that always strikes me about this particular group of humans is their deep sense of justice.  They don’t have the same ennui, fatigue, acceptance of the wrong in the world that adults do, which I find invigorating and more than a little heartbreaking.

Little kids often have questions that I can’t answer, like why are there two high tides a day in most places, but only one in some areas, like the Gulf of Mexico?  I can research it enough to understand and sort of explain using items like an orange and a grapefruit and a basketball and a rope and some magnetic dust and a magnet and Styrofoam balls and a flashlight and a clock and a centrifuge and perhaps a protractor (for the 12 degrees part) to explain it, and soon everyone is distracted enough with the props to forget the original question, which works out for me.  I can memorize the answer well enough to repeat it if I’m asked within one to five minutes of learning it, and then poof.   

In case you’re curious, I’m so sorry I've brought it up, because I’ve exceeded my five minutes.  And actually,  I read so much that I became more confused.  But I did learn that tides change the weight of a human by 10 to the minus 16, in case you care. 

I won’t tell you how much time I spent researching this question just to be able to use this particular metaphor, which isn't really working out.  The metaphor has become bigger than main topic.  And let's not count the time I spent on a failed attempt to create origami to explain once a day tides.  I should totally get a job.

Anyway, the thing about these particular youth is that don’t expect me to answer questions about why all the injustice in the world.  I’m grateful for that, because I have no idea.


  1. I've studied the tide question myself and I still don't understand it. It's just one of those things that I accept. Injustice? I don't really accept it but like the tides, I don't understand it, either.

  2. Reading too much and becoming confused is something I am only too familiar with!


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