When I was in high school and college, I kept track of general domestic politics in the U.S., but I barely paid any attention to anything international unless it was major. I guess I was a product of American exceptionalism and all that crap, which basically made me brainwashed (without my ever fully being aware of it) that the world revolved around the U.S. I’ve definitely been paying attention to more international news in my 20s and now my early 30s, but I know I could do better.
So you can imagine how amazed I was when we met these Dutch girls between the ages of 17-19, and they basically talked about American culture and politics as though they were really smart Americans themselves (I say “smart” because American teenagers as a whole are hardly considered smart from a global perspective). They kept track of our elections, of who was running, even of the controversial Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones Alabama Senate special election. These girls are going to be the next leaders of tomorrow, yet unfortunately, they don’t represent the U.S.; they represent the Netherlands. When I was their age, I probably wasn’t even half as knowledgable about the world as they probably are.
I guess it also helps to have highly educated and successful parents who actively participate in your learning and growth, and also take you on world travels. But I’m sure a lot of their desire to know is based on them as individuals. Still, I was kind of blown away and embarrassed by my own lack of knowledge when I was their age. We all have things to aspire to.