I had an eye-opening conversation with my 15 year old daughter who, as so many of us who were there once, is having a difficult and perplexing time being a teenager. We forget so easily don’t we?
She spoke to me of how repetitive adults are and how they all say the same thing over and over again. Every single one of them. Things like, “enjoy your teenage years while you have them because trust me when you get to being an adult it is much tougher” and “one day you’ll wish you could go back and do it again”.
While she was talking to me my stomach turned and it hit me hard because it suddenly dawned on me how right she was. Imagine being given identical ‘advice’ by every adult that crosses your path? Imagine how monotonous and insipid it must start to sound? She relayed to me how daunting it is to hear it continually because it puts such an element of fear into her for her own future that she has big plans for. She told me adults make it sound so scary that she doesn't even want to go there anymore.
She wants something to look forward to, something she can work towards. She has hopes and dreams and things she wants to do, places she wants to explore and people she wants to meet. Young people, yes PEOPLE, a fact we lose sight of very quickly, have a completely different outlook on life. They see nothing as impossible. They picture what their houses are going to look like, their husbands, wives, children and friends. They speak of the work they are going to do and how successful they are going to be. Who are we to take that away from them? In fact how dare we?
Enter misguided and disillusioned adult: The all knowing who think they have lived enough life to know better and what do we do? We crush their dreams and break their spirits by squashing their heads in the sand, taking with that everything they have planned in their minds and we tell them they cannot have it because life is not everything they think it is. How is it we know so much of life but nothing of our very own children? We do not let them live in the present of their lives and just let them be teenagers. We do not listen to them or hear what they are actually saying. We do not stop ourselves in our tracks before we assume that they want advice before we rattle off and tell them the things we think they want to hear which does more damage than it does good. We think we know better.
They don’t want advice. They want to be heard and taken seriously as young people with raging hormones in a confusing and emotionally challenging time in their lives. They want to know that they can be who they are without being told they are being difficult, ridiculous or unreasonable. They want to feel safe. That it’s ok to be moody and grumpy and happy and elated for no reason, yes, all in one day.
Perhaps an mind overhaul is required. A re-look at ourselves and the way we interact with our children. We need to encourage them and inspire them and tell them they can be anything they want to be and help them get there. We don’t need to set an example because who we are is not who they want to be, as hard as that might be to swallow. Adults are jaded, adolescents are a blank canvas and we need to give them the paintbrush with a blessing that what they paint is entirely up to them. We need to be responsible enough to help them understand that whatever they choose comes with consequences but at the end of the day, when all that tedious and repetitive stuff is said and done, the choice is theirs, not ours.
“Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.”
~ Virginia Satir
How I see it...
I see, speak and write in metaphors because I feel there is much we can learn from nature, people and our surroundings as depicted in my photographs and why I enjoy sharing my thoughts. Not in any attempt to convince or convert you to my way of thinking, seeing or feeling but to share how I see and experience MY mind map of the world. You at no time have to agree, all I ask is that my views and the views of others who wish to express theirs are kindly respected. So relax, get comfy and just enjoy. Happy reading!