A major problem in our culture in the United States is that there are no ways for our youth to matriculate into society as adults. There is no legitimate initiation process like in other cultures. The Maasai in Africa have to kill a lion, the Spartans in Greece had the lone walk and the Aborigines in Australia had the walk about. We have nothing. I believe we, the youth of today, have this innate desire to show the world that we are strong, but how do we prove our strength physically and mentally? Our grandfathers fought in the World Wars while our grandmothers worked in the factories. Most of them experienced extreme racial prejudice, poverty, immigration, and death. They lived through a national depression. They worked hard for very little. They cherished and respected the idea of family. And they never complained. Our parents were raised with a strong religious moral code and a firm hand to enforce the rules. Their parent’s humility easily matriculated into their well-built ethics. Where is our societal validity? Where is our great life changing experience? So many of us turn to drugs, alcohol, fighting, athletic or academic greatness to reach that higher level of understanding because we yearn for something more, our moment to shine, and we don’t know where to find it. “I can drink the most, I can do the most drugs, I have slept with the best looking people, I am the toughest, I am the smartest; I am the best athlete; I am the most popular. This makes me the best.” With these singular acts we try to achieve dual outcomes: to experience a higher existence and to parade a fierce will. We are like small children nagging at our parent’s clothes, “Look what I can do?” This is our feeble offering to the elders. But none of this can live up to the strength from where we’ve come. We tear ourselves apart to grab even the slightest bit of clout, when all the while we just want somebody to tell us that we are ok, that we are good enough, that we are loved, as equals. Still, we are the generation of Blacksheep. Our character will always be questioned.