A Nice Change of Pace……


by Kenneth Justice

~ I wasn’t kidding before when I said the warm weather brings out the people with signs in my community <article>

Last night on my way home from work I noticed these four young adults on the corner holding their DIY poster board ‘Peace’ signs.

What is your first reaction when you see young people like this? Do you roll your eyes and put your head down and try to walk by them without making eye-contact?

gonna be alright

Do you think to yourself; here are a bunch of hippie wannabees decked out in their hipster clothes that they probably spent top dollar at Macy’s on?

After I took a couple pictures I went over to talk with the young man in glasses;ย 

“So whats the deal man, were you guys sitting around this morning listening to some Bob Marley and you said to yourselves, ‘lets go outside and hold some peace signs dude’?”

he shook his head,

“no man, we’re not on drugs at all. We just wanted to spread a little love. We figured if we could brighten up one person’s day today then we did something good….even if we could just get one person to give us a thumb’s up.”

First off, I was a little put off by his association with drugs & Bob Marley; C’mon, I love Bob Marley! Does that mean I have to be smoking pot to get my Rasta on???


“We figured if we could brighten up one person’s day today then we did something good….”

Sure, these young adults are probably as close to a modern cliche as you can get nowadays, they are the grandchildren of Timothy Leary and everything the 1960’s represented, the closest these kids have gotten to free love and Lennon is hanging out at FYE listening to the Beatles on C.D…….


I’m going to be honest with you, they made me smile.

Normally when I go through this part of town I’m greeted by fundamentalist Christians who are hungrily licking their lips and waiting to pounce on me to tell me of my utter destruction and my future life where they believe I’m going to be burning in a ever-burning lake of fire.

It doesn’t matter that I have faith in Jesus also, because I don’t prescribe to their version of Christianity I’m on the outside; I’m a degenerate in their estimation.

And as I pointed out in yesterday’s post, the tragedy in Boston was terrible, yet the reality we face is that we live in a world of constant tragedy.

I live here in the United States where the horrors that befall so many of the people in Africa are barely noticed by our news media.

You want Africa to make U.S. news, well you’re going to have to do more than genocide, the deaths of millions from AIDS, and modern slavery in the Ivory Coast…..no, us American’s are too busy with watching Dancing with the Stars to give a hoot about a country on the other side of the ocean.

Don’t get me wrong…..I’m not suggesting we live in a state of constant mourning over the tragedies that befall the human race; if we did that we might be overcome with depression and anxiety.

But I wonder if somewhere along the lines we have become a little too jaded.

What happened to us as a people that when a couple kids take the time to hold up some signs that say “Peace”, “Love” and “Everything’s Going to beย Alright” we get disgusted and say under our breath, “Damn teenagers!”

How willing are we to take the amount of time that these kids put into their little excursion and do our part in putting a smile on someone’s face?

Or are we too busy playing Facebook games to do something worthwhile?

you're here


Hey, I’m not going to lie to you, it will likely be a cold day in hell before I stand out on the corner holding a sign that says “Smile you are Beautiful”

But these kids, with their simple little message, words they picked out of a Time Magazine Photo essay on the 1960’s……these kids made me wonder what I’m doing…..

What am I doing?

Am I progressing or repressing?

Am I moving forward in my growth as an individual?

or Am I stagnant, am I going nowhere?

Lots of questions….but as is usual….I have very few answers.

Time for another cup of coffee..



Categories: Culture & Society

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32 replies

  1. Although… I COULD see you, someday, drinking coffee from a mug with a peace sign on it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Thanks for making me think this morning. Wonderful post.

  3. I like the idea of younger people doing this. I like the idea of them, despite the current state of affairs in the world, deciding the best action was to do whatever they could to put a smile on strangers face. I like the idea of people putting their personal fears to the side and offering comfort to others instead. I am motivated to do the same thing. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Reblogged this on billieazahir and commented:
    Given recent events, I was in search of hope. This is only one hopefull thing I found. I hope it gives you hope like it did me.

  5. You make me and others smile, think and believe in good. Thank you.

  6. I think it’s sweet. I’d rather have this than those scary kids in hoodies hanging around in groups, smoking, swearing etc. They may not be doing much overall for the cause but better than alternative things they could be doing with their time.

  7. Well done.
    I love it when people try to get something positive out into the universe and into peoples lives.
    It’s refreshing to see.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. want to be a part of this someday

  9. Youth are the leaders in innovation. They haven’t developed that sense of “check, and double-check for propriety,” conditioning those of us in our older years have. They are our future. Its why I think it is so important to support youth mentoring and solutions to help reclaim disengaged youth. It’s like that old adage we hear about only using a small percentage of our brains, and just imagine what we could do if we used more; there is a very large percentage of our youth that are slipping through the cracks. Poverty, abuse, neglect, lack of accountability, lack of good role models, broken schools, drug culture, entitlement, etc, all keep many youth down and out when it comes to being involved in change or growth. Just imagine what our country would be like, where we’d be, what politics would look like, and what kind of energy we’d all be infused with, if only we’d help reclaim their potential.

  10. A photographer, an artist, can do a lot just with a camera and a message to capture. Or simply capture-able moments that make people smile and/or remind them that there still is some humanity in the world we live in . . .

  11. i too often worry about how jaded we’ve become – so jaded to the point we’d rather hear about kim kardashian’s maternity clothes (puke) than pay attention to what’s happening in the world – hell half the country doesn’t even pay full attention to what’s happening here let alone the rest of the world. i saw someone comment on a news article that he was already tired of hearing about the boston marathon and it hadn’t even been a full day since it happened – talk about cynical. that said – it does give up that again maybe the younger generations are starting to get it. maybe holding signs is a bit hippyish but other than the lack of cleanliness, i don’t see what was so wrong with being a hippy? anyway, i was going to write a ton more but i’ll just sum it up with – the way i see these kids are simply working to put a positive vibe out there for the universe to pick up and spread. that’s amazing! gandhi once said “we must be the change we wish to see in the world.” i’m excited to see youth are working to be part of the change. as other posters have said, it gives me hope, particularly when i was starting to lose hope in young people for a variety of reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen,

      ha ha…gosh..don’t even get me started about Kim Kardashian….I’m late to the party on that one, I remember turning on the T.V. one day and wondering, “Who is this Kim Kardashian?” I thought maybe she was an actress or something….but nope.

      it does give up that again maybe the younger generations are starting to get it

      I think there is a decent percentage of American young adults who are seeing the problems with where are culture has been going for the past generation….I fear though that they may end up being swallowed up by the same things that caused the hippie culture to dissipate by the end of the 1960’s……(not that the hippies were some perfect ideal as far as community goes…but they had a lot of great ideas).

    • im just hoping some “fresh eyes” will help us stop being so jaded and remember humanity some how. it’s just nice to see those kids doing that because i worry about how inconsiderate some youth have really become so it’s refreshing. hope this is a trend that continues.

  12. Hi Kenneth, thank for visiting and for your invitation to visit you, I have read some of your Posts but still not sure where your focus is but it seems you want do not accept Christians who promote their own agenda and not God’s, if this is so I agree 100% with you. I do not take on board man’s understanding, I seek God’s Truth in all things , I messed up too much by Trusting in what I thought and what others promoted as God’s Truth but having asked for and then receiveing God’s wisdom I have no doubts what road to take and there is only one.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

  13. This brings to mind “think globally, act locally.” It’s important to remember we’re each part of the global community while acting within our local community to bring about…improvement?

  14. I see so many positive things about doing this, and absolutely nothing negative. Positive: they are spreading some joy, fun, creativity, and optimism. They are being a community – doing something together they can remember for as long as they want to.
    It reminds me of a friend of mine who gets together with friends, sits somewhere around a lot of people, and yell, “YAY!” when someone walks by, as if to cheer there mere existence. Part performance art, part celebrating our existence – doesn’t matter. Why can’t we applaud each other? Of course, while doing that, I noticed a couple of people finding fault. One woman stood there and mimed the “crazy” sign as she watched us. Others merely shook their heads, preferring I suppose to continue their day unbothered by joy.

    Bless these joyful and creative kids.

    • Rhan….

      agreed…I can’t really think of anything negative either.

      and I love performance art too….by the end of June all the street musicians come out and we have street music all summer long …its a lot of fun.

  15. First thing I thought was “wow do the teens dress differently there” (detroit right?)

    Second, I would rather these teens and all teens in the US be holding signs of “smile you are beautiful” and “Its Alright” on street corners than raping girls and putting the photos and video on the internet while laughing about it. (there is another case of “THOSE” type of teen boys currently going on in California right now and it makes me sick to my stomach).

    • Claudia….

      yes, Detroit.

      ha ha….you made me have to go back and look at the photos, I didn’t really pay attention to how they were dressed, so I did….and well….lol they seem like everyone else around here ๐Ÿ™‚

      I lived in Florida for a year back in the day and I’ve spent a fair amount of time out in Cali too so I do know that the dress styles in ocean states are definitely a bit different than places like New York, Chicago and Detroit ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Wow, you sure see a lot of Christians holding signs. I don’t recall ever seeing even one in Detroit! Perhaps they might be more useful down at the abortion clinics.

  17. I really like this one. By seeing the pictures and then by reading this it also made me ask, what am I doing? What kind of things do I automatically assume or hate just because I don’t ask or understand? I too fall into this generation of people,Millenials are what we are called. For me, this has made me stop and question even further, thank you for unknowingly providing the constructive criticism that I needed.

  18. I love that these kids got out and tried to spread some happiness — and I love that you helped them out by writing about it!

  19. they make me smile too…

    so… now that you’ve wondered… are you going to do something ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Reblogged this on Le Little Fox.

  21. I wish your teenagers lived near me–I would have blown them kisses and started doing my Flashmob of 1 bit. Yep, as a professional dancer increasingly smitten with public art, I love weaving dance, surprise, heck yeah, JOY into daily life. What a wonderful spirit those kids displayed. Glad to hear they sprinkled some of their magic in your heart. Cheers to your fresh cup o’ joe.

  22. Reblogged this on Ocean Shores Online.


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