It’s Back to School time all across the U.S. I worry about the “kids” more today than ever before. Over my years within the classroom, I witnessed the students experimenting and trying new things at a younger and younger age. As my teaching discipline was high school English…it is fair to say over twenty years I “taught it all” and “taught all of them” and because of that saw teenagers in a natural light…away from home and with peers. Many of them are still “children” inside, but with pressures from Society and friends, they try to come across as adults…both in their words and actions.I was lucky enough to be one of the trusted “real” adults that the students sought out for advice and guidance. It is fair to say that I offered it freely. It is clear to me that although adults like to say and think that things were the same when we were their age... it’s not even close to the same. We had issues and concerns, yes, but not the drama (their word not mine) which is clearly a part of the modern teens’ culture. A parent, teacher, or guardian who is not aware that frequent drinking, readily available drugs, and early, early, early sex are the NORM with high schoolers (and even younger) and not the exception… are fooling themselves and at the same time doing a dis-service to their teen. Kids, even the good ones, test the boundaries. Do not be naive.
Over the two decades, I taught in three different states in different parts of the country. I taught in the suburbs and I taught inner-city. There were times the students were well-off financially and there were times that almost all of them qualified for free-lunch. They were all skin colors, many different nationalities and yet every one of them was the same.
Here’s the universal sameness :
Children/teens need and expect boundaries!
Children/ teens need and hope for guidance!
Children/teens need consequences when they violate those boundaries!
Children/teens need positive role models not buddies!
Children/ teens need you to actively ask them the hard questions and then not believe the easy answers…because it’s easier for you!
Children/teens are not adults…they just pretend that they are!
BUT children and teens do ALL the things adults do and…
they are still not ready.
They still have so much to learn in school…and in life.
May we all take a more active role in young lives;
they are our legacy.