Good Boys, Great Works

There's far more to today's teenage boys than shooting rampages, drugs and thumping stereos

News reports about teenage boys are usually gray, if not outright black, these days. I want to tell the brighter kind of story that does not get much attention from the media. It's about my 16-year-old son and several of his peers.

About 6 years ago, I traveled with a busload of ladies on a trip to Dallas, Texas. While on this trip, I complimented a woman on her lapel pin. It was a tiny set of infant feet. She immediately took it off and said, "Here, I want you to have it."

She asked if I had heard of the program called Newborns In Need. I had not, so she told me of this service that had recently been founded by a lady named Carol Green. It was established to help premature new born babies who were in need of clothing and blankets. It began as a local effort and has since grown to include most states. I listened with interest but had no personal conviction to become involved.

When I arrived home the next day, I showed my sons the pin and told them about the tiny feet being the actual size of the feet of a baby weighing less than a pound. My then-ten-year-old son Geoffrey took an immediate interest and decided that he would do his Eagle Project when he was older to assist these prematurely born infants.

He took them to heart

He did not forget the effect learning about these helpless babies had on him and was true to his word. As his Eagle Scout project, he organized and helped with the sewing of 35 baby quilts. He and other teen boys in his scout troop threaded needles, sewed and tied beautiful blankets. Geoffrey earned funds for the fabric through lawn mowing in the neighborhood. Also donations of some blankets and fabric came from mothers of the scouts.

None of these young men had ever sewn before and even the lessons in threading needles were awkward for their untrained fingers. But they were all willing to participate in this project to help in a good cause. The blankets were donated to our local hospital to be distributed to the babies in the neonatal unit.

While some teen boys make the news with muggings, robbings and killings, there are still good young men who are caring, kind and generous--young men who see beyond their own interests into the needs of others and reach out to make a difference. I am proud to be the mother of such a boy!

A.G. Zahn is a 36 year old mother and wife. She has three sons ages 15, 13 and 12 and a daughter age 3. She says, "My husband and I both feel strongly that children should be parented rather than 'warehoused' in day cares. This commitment means living on his teaching salary and being very frugal. I have never regretted this decision and truly admire others who make this sacrifice."