“It was really difficult finding young people who had passion and perspectives,” she says. “I interviewed several younger people before I was able to find someone that I thought would be interesting.
|Charles Corpening III and Tim Lee|
“The younger kids, especially if they’re ‘good kids’ didn’t want to say anything that was out of line. They didn’t want to talk about anything that was taboo. They’re worried about what their parents think and so they don’t want to talk about it. They’re worried about what’s going to go on their college applications and so they didn’t speak out. We need people in our country that are going to be not afraid to speak out and are going to be movers and shakers.”
As it turned out, Dr. Veronica needed to look no further than her own teenage son, Charles E. Corpening III, who inherited his mother’s candor, and Charles’ longtime friend Tim Lee for the male perspective. Molly, a 21-year-old senior-to-be at New College of Florida and daughter of a colleague, offers the female point-of-view.
Charles’ major area of concern in the world is the emphasis on dogma as it relates to religious differences. “That really bothers me because it causes a lot of people to die unjust deaths,” he said. “I feel that dogma is worse than crack cocaine, heroin and meth put together. It kills more people every day than drug addiction and AIDS combined.”
It also bothers him that workers cleaning up BP’s oil spill in the Gulf are now becoming ill, in the same fashion that Ground Zero workers did too.
“Nobody gets taken care of,” Charles says. “It’s disgusting… I think that the BP president is a thug and most of the corporation heads are thugs. They really don’t care about the people that are affected unless their families are directly affected. I’ve seen from many natural catastrophes to oil spills where people are hurting directly and there are things that can be done but actions are not taken because they are not economically viable.”
When it comes to the opposite sex, Tim wonders if he’ll be able to find someone who is willing to invest in a relationship. He worries that people don’t know how to communicate these days. “They see Flavor Flav (on VH1’s Flavor of Love) with 100 hoes and think that is the way to communicate,” Tim says. “It’s really devastating the culture.”
Sex education is taught in school but who teaches the young people about relationships?
“A lot of the parents think it is a really touchy subject,” Charles says. “You see all of these commercials on TV about talking to your kids about drugs. I think it should be the same way about relationships because relationships are just as dangerous.”
However, both young men confess that many of their peers don’t look for anything meaningful.
“They want a girl …who doesn’t have a mouth because they don’t want her to talk,” Charles says. “I want a girl that can have an intellectual debate with me and can beat me at some points in time and I can beat her at some points in time. Most people don’t want to be intellectually stimulated. They want a fast food (relationship), something that looks good and tastes good but does not fill you. As somebody who has been raised by my mom, that just does not work for me. I need someone who has the outer package and inner package. I want to be filled after I eat.”
And that could change once he reaches Molly’s age. She tells Dr. Veronica that she has “super cool conversations about scientific studies and any weird things we’ve read in the news,” with her boyfriend. She appreciates being on the same intellectual level with him and sharing common activities yet having just enough different interests so they can teach each other.
While Tim says his circle does not routinely practice safe sex, Charles says his does.
“It’s all about safe sex on college campuses, which is great,” Molly says. “You go to almost any college and there are free condoms everywhere.”
And females feel comfortable taking them.
“I don’t think the idea that it is up to the man to bring them is true at all anymore,” she says. “If anything, the woman is like, ‘Nope we’re using mine. I don’t know where yours has been.’ ”
Not that everybody is doing it though. Although it was acceptable at her high school for students to have sex if they were involved in a serious relationship, she doesn’t believe most of high school students are as sexually active as people think.
“There’s this misconception with all of these silly movies that you lose your virginity by the time you graduate,” Molly says. “But certainly not. I still have friends who are 21 and they haven’t had sex. And it’s not that they couldn’t have. It’s pretty easy for a girl to find a guy. But they’re not going to do that. They’re more mature than that.”
Body image is always a hot topic with females and Molly, who worked at a Florida Pilates studio where she says half of the women had unnaturally-looking breast implants, has grown to accept herself in a state where plastic surgery is a way of life for many. Keeping her weight in proportion with her height has always been a struggle.
“This is my natural body shape,” she tells Dr. Veronica. “I still think I’m beautiful whether there’s more fat on my curves. I’ve lost weight before and I’m not going to ruin my life because of it. But I’m always trying to eat healthier and exercise more. Sometimes it’s easier than other times. But I’ve accepted that that is part of my life. It won’t ever be easy. I never will be a size 2 and that’s okay.”
If Molly’s, Charles’ and Tim’s comments are any indication, there’s plenty of hope for the next generation.
“These are the type of people that are going to be leading us so we want to hear what they have to say,” Dr. Veronica tells listeners. “These people have passions about their life and other people. They’re loving people. They’re going to be the ones responsible for taking care of us when we are in our golden years.”