Let me begin this by saying that I completed my required seven year stint as a teenager many years ago. As I have become active in a VA, and A.Net, it is hard to miss that a number of folks in both communities are teenagers, and some even younger. From time to time, nasty responses on A.Net and negative OPEds on Flightsim.com have been posted, and it is my thoughts on this subject that bring me in from my ongoing battle against autumn leaves to sit before my computer.
Every generation loves to relay to the next one how primative the world was when they were youngsters. However, there have been some tremendous changes in the last 20 years, so many that this era may be looked back upon as being similar to the industrial revolution. (Pong vs. FS2K2 comes to mind as I search for my next thought.) I am encouraged to see so many young people taking advantage of the resources available to them. I can't imagine how cool it must be to be 14 and landing a 1970's livery Pan Am 707 at Hong Kong, or recreating the flights you took on your summer vacation. I also can't imagine how cool it must be to have the ultimate alter-ego, CEO of a major airline.
The VA for which I fly is run by a teenager. He does a fine job, in fact since my interest in VA flying is casual at best, he puts in far too much effort than I deserve. Why then do teenager VA CEO's endure so much heat from adults? If you want to join a VA but don't want to be in one run by a teen, than feel free to join a different VA. In fact, I can't see the point of any negative opinions on something that is a hobby done for entertainment. Let the kids learn about the real world in a safe environment like a VA. How much I wish I had learned some of life's lessons in a setting like that. A teenager running a VA will learn:
-The real world is just like high school, you just switch the football jersey for the sports car and the nerd glasses for the....ok the nerd glasses stay.
-You can't make everybody happy all of the time.
-When your decisions affect more than just yourself, you must think them out.
-Ask for advice from people you trust, and be wise in who you consider trustworthy.
-No matter what you do, somebody will always be critical. Listen to their criticism because you might find they have a point, but don't let it get you down.
-Make a decision and stick to it, wishy-washy doesn't cut it.
I have no desire to be the trumpeter of the young man's cause. I think music today sucks, baggy pants look ridiculous, and for the love of God quit sitting in front of that computer and go do something! Flight simulators, VA's, A.Net, and PlayStation are all cool, but go meet some girls or play sports or drive around town (at or below the speed limit) or do all those things that a few years from now will be a memory. And make sure you go to college because that'll be the best years of your life.
Now for us adults, let the kids learn. If your VA CEO is a teen, be patient. Chances are at some point, he or she will do something that defies logic. Just be kind. If you can't be kind, be constructive. If you can't be either, then go stare in a mirror for a while and try to figure out what's wrong with you.
Let's all be a little kinder to the "yutes," because it's a jungle out there.
Dennis Miller says it best, "that's just my opinion, I could be wrong."
Don't spook the Horse,
Mindless drifter on the road, Carries such an easy load