I curate the NewPages Publications for Young Writers Guide, and as much as I do this to provide a resource for young readers, writers, teachers, and parents, we could all benefit from spending some time reading the voices of young people. I was distracted from my work (a regular occurrence here, as you can imagine) when I came across “My Parents Are Anti-Vaxxers” by an anonymous contributor to YouthComm Magazine. In it, the author recounts how shocked they were when their parents went down the Facebook “Covid hoax” rabbit hole, declined vaccinations even in the face of losing a job/income, and then what they put their children through when one parent contracted the virus and declined medical care. The plaintive yet matter-of-fact style in which the author presents their perspective is frustrating to read, even heartbreaking, “It has made me question the people that I idolized growing up. The people that I believed, in my childhood innocence, could do no wrong.” Yet there is some consolation, “This experience has taught me a lot about the complexities of humans. It’s hard to accept that we can be good people and still go down the wrong paths. That things aren’t always simply black and white, though it’d be easier if they were.” And the final resolution, “But I’ve learned other people can provide guidance when your parents can’t.” It’s a sad commentary on the kind of division this experience created, and that we see continue among family, friends, and communities. It’s tough to imagine these youth experiencing the need to break away from their parents’ ideologies, but at the same time, encouraging that they (and we all) may be better off as adults as a result.
Youth Communication offers short, nonfiction stories and related lessons to help students improve their reading and writing skills, and improve the social and emotional skills that support school success. They provide workshops and publications, including Represent Magazine: Stories by Teens in Foster Care.