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Eyes on Malibu: Important values for Malibu youth

Everest Brady, Contributing Columnist/Malibu High School Student
11:26 am PDT July 8, 2014

What do the Malibu youth truly value? What are the most important things we hold dear in our actions? Malibu’s Rev. Joyce Stickney gave me her opinion on values.

My first question was: “What do you think helps parents emphasize good values in their kids?”

“Their day-to-day example and showing their children love, respect, clear expectations and consequences,” Stickney said. “When you lie, your parents may hesitate to trust you. When you are disrespectful it causes hurt. When parents serve others with their children, this makes it ‘natural’ for kids to help serve food on Thanksgiving day at a community meal, to donate a portion of their money and birthday gifts to the poor, to befriend individuals who are either much younger or much older, to spend a day playing with children at an orphanage in Tijuana, or to go out of their comfort zone while admitting the discomfort. The beloved St. Francis is quoted saying, ‘Preach the good news at all times and if necessary use words.’ This quote may also apply to parents teaching values to their kids.”

I asked Stickney, “What do you think are good values our youth in Malibu should hold above all else?”

“Service,” she said. “This value may be a combination of generosity, gratitude, the desire to help others, empathy and love, but when youth in our community reach outside of themselves, lives are transformed, especially the life of the one serving. Courtesy and honesty are also very important. Honesty nurtures trust in relationships.”

Stickney recalled a recent experience of her’s to illustrate the point

“When I arrived at MHS for a football game last year, a group of teens were skateboarding by the swimming pool entrance. A school employee told them they needed to pick up their skateboard and hold it or skate off campus. One of the boys aggressively walked towards the staff member and taunted him saying, ‘What are going to do to me? You can’t touch me.’ He and his friends laughed. They thought they were being tough and cool when really they were demonstrating their lack of respect for others and themselves to behave in such a manner. This bothered me. So, courtesy and respect for all creation and living beings would also be at the top of the list.”

I asked my best friend and fellow student Taylor Matthews the same question. 

“I believe that all people should strive for altruism, the behavior that shows the desire for helping others selflessly,” Matthews said. “If we all help each other, then there is nothing that could not be accomplished. In my opinion, the best way to achieve this is by seeing things from a different perspective — putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. One way is not absolute; there are multiple paths. By taking paths that meet at a common ground we can recognize the struggles they face and how to better assist them and vice versa.”

Personally, from my own experiences at Malibu High School, many students are selfish and rude. But, there are still great youth doing great service. There are great clubs started by amazing people, volunteers helping in projects in Africa and those that value honesty and keep their promises to others. 

There is still hope for our youth.