The three young women on our cover this spring, along with the many other members of the Paducah Swim team, are smart, remarkable students and athletes who represent an optimism for the future that I think we can all agree is much needed about now. In our interviews with these driven young people we took note of how many times they individually mentioned that the discipline and dedication necessary to compete against their own personal best, as well as against others in their sport, has also had a transformative effect on their lives. This rigorous devotion to a demanding mission, I believe, positively poses them for great things both now and in the days to come.
When we discount the maturity, discernment, and perspicacity of our youth, we do so at our peril. Nadia Comaneci received a perfect 10 when she was 14 years old. Louis Braille invented the Braille system at the age of 15. Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize when she was 17. In 2014, Sara Blair was elected at the age of 18 to the West Virginia House of Delegates. Nick D’Aloisio sold an app to Yahoo for $30 million when he was 17 years old. Bobby Fischer was a chess grand master at the age of 15.
The freshness and clarity of thinking that emerges from young hearts and minds, yet to be altered by the harshness of culture clashes that so often diminish our enthusiasm, should be elevated! It would behoove us all to take heed of their innocent approaches. It would benefit us to listen to their ideas and their untarnished perspectives of how the world should be. It would undoubtedly embolden each of us to consider a viewpoint that looks through the lens of youthful simplicity.
As we make our way into the spring season and another election year, let’s look at LIFE the way exuberantly expectant children do—with the passionate belief that the world can be a wonderful place if we ALL give it our BEST!