As anyone who knows me knows, I am not one prone to bragging. As susceptible as I am to any/all human foibles as anyone else, I really do try to stay focused on uplifting humanity rather than attempting to remind everyone that I have a fat resume. I do actually try not to brag. I at least attempt the opposite of braggadocio. But that changes when it comes to the subject of my niece. I am very comfortable bragging about her. My avuncular love for her knows no limits. She is the greatest niece in the world. For anonymity’s sake I will call her Edna.
“Edna” is the greatest niece in the world. And I am her Uncle. Let the bragging begin. She is so great a niece that my status as World’s Greatest Uncle is assured. Gaze upon me!! Gaze upon my Avuncular Supremacy!! Better yet… let all who gaze upon me bow and look away, for surely how could one survive in the Blazing Light of My Glory?!!
Look Away! I Am Too Glorious!!
The real question though is “WHY?” Why is my niece great? Any good uncle will love their niece(s) and brag about her/them. Uncles often have “great” nieces. What makes for a great niece? Is there some kind of quantitative measurement that can be applied?
This measurement, this reckoning of nieces only really matters when said niece or nieces do what counts, what really matters in Life and thus what matters in Life becomes our ruler (note to anyone under 18: a ruler is this thing us old people used way back a million years ago in 1970; a small, wooden stick with marks on it that you could use to see how long your fingers were, draw straight lines, get hit on the hands with during piano lessons, and most importantly, measure your friend’s snot splatters after sneezing onto a table.)
There are still many people these days that continue to trumpet the old adage that “the kids these days…” (a) don’t have any manners, (b) have “no respect for…” (c) “don’t appreciate…”, (d) “can’t even…”, (e) are lazy, stupid, evil, fat, arrogant, and…, (e) can’t appreciate (X) the way we do. The modern teen is apparently this evil fat, game obsessed, drug addled, spoiled, whiny, technologically over-dependent, arrogant, talentless group of stupid YouTube video posters.
Not my niece.
Everything that we demand of the modern teen (that we never demanded of ourselves when we were their age) has shown up in my niece. Creativity? She is an award-winning musician and an actor. Awards? Burgeoning scholar/National Honor Society member. Sports? She can run and play soccer as good and often much better than others her age. Meaningless things like beauty and charm? Cuteness, in truckloads. There are probably thousands of nieces that fit that description. Here is where the path from ordinary diverges.
My niece is not only a human being, she is a humane being. And recently she won a citizenship award for it.
All the handwringing we Gen Xers and older can commit to due to all the evils of the modern teen age is wasted on my niece. She tutors her fellow students, has been a committed recycler and lake conservationist since childhood, peer tutor, gracious, humble, thoughtful, called by her award/awarders an “ideal role model in every way.” She is known everywhere she goes as the kind of citizen the school, city, state, country, or world needs. Lives are better whenever and wherever she shows up. Illiteracy drops, hearts are made lighter, things get organized, the landscape gets cleaner, stress amongst teachers decreases, and volunteerism increases. It also happens to be that the percentage of trophies, certificates, and awards on her shelf to the shelves of others also increases.
We all want others to be this way, and we will fill countless blogs and website think pieces with our demands on others to do what is right. The kids these days don’t respect or care about what we want them to? Not my niece. Even without our constant trumpeting against her and her peers, she would have, does, and will do what betters humanity, no matter how loud we get in the meantime, and no matter how little anyone else does.
My niece has chosen (it absolutely is a choice) to use her Life for good, cost not counted. And not once has she ever wanted anything in return and or made her works for human betterment known. I am extremely proud of her for that. Are “the kids these days” loud? Rude? Selfish? Stupid? Lazy? A lot of them really are. Not my niece. She is the one you would hope is still out there amongst all this seemingly unstoppable tide of genetic waste walking the Earth disguised as teenagers.
Is “when will the kids these days do the right thing?” the question? My niece is the answer.
I Love You, Edna…