Teens: Will You Crush Them or Build Them Up?

I’m tired of how people complain about teens. And I agree with a lot of teens that grown ups can be so annoying and just don’t get it.

Calling them entitled, incompetent, ignorant, and overly sensitive, many talk about how teens don’t think and just want to be entertained, so many adults I know complain about how teens don’t think. But the teens I know and have known are smart, questioning, deep thinkers who have a surprising amount of wisdom to share when they actually find someone who will listen. Not sucked into the day to day doldrums of paying bills, teens have a brief moment in time when they can imagine the world differently and if we would stop dismissing them we could actually learn from them. Remarkable people, teens are not to be ignored.

Teens are amazing. One of the most powerful resources for fresh ideas and a new perspective that this world has and SO often we blow it.

Historically, teens and young adults have had important roles in revolutions and change, from civil rights to poverty battles, technology and wars, teens will sit at a counter they aren’t welcomed at because they are brave enough to know that sometimes the most wrong thing is complying with injustice.

They may be young and inexperienced, but they have an ability to grasp ideas and see clearly in ways adults often simply are too encumbered by jadedness to grasp. Their optimism may be easy to brush aside as naive, their criticism easy to mock as inexperienced, their angst easy to roll your eyes at, their frustrations easy to sigh as just ignorance, their questions easy to dismiss as rebellion, their concerns easy to attack as being overly sensitive and overreacting, but they are tomorrow’s promise, why do we actually WANT to crush them?

In 20-40 years, the teens you mock today will be the pool of new politicians you have to vote for. Many despair about the future because they don’t like what they see in teens, I see the present politicians and I have hope for the future because of what I see in teens today. We should want to see them thrive, value their questions, consider their perspective, and support them in pursuing changing what they don’t like in our world.

Oh adults, you grown-ups, don’t let the opportunity of being a part of that pass you by! Will you crush them or will you build them up? They are people and as such, they deserve respect.

So I say to my daughter and many like her; share your voice. It matters. You matter. You are not stupid, you are not ridiculous, you are not pathetic. You are insightful and you are RIGHT to question. Thank you. Don’t ever stop. There will be more, yes, more adults who should know better, that will attack you for your ideas because they are threatened by them. Those that will cheer when you are hurt. Those that will mock rather than engage in conversation when they disagree with you. Those that will feel they have triumphed when they smack you down to where they think you belong. And you will get back up and assert yourself as the equal and valuable individual you are with ideas that will the change the world.

Keep trying. There are those who are willing to discuss with you. Those who will value your thoughts and be willing to consider your ideas. Those who will patiently show you other perspectives and help you see some flaws in your own thinking. Those who will be wiling to see your perspective and see some flaws in their own thinking because of you. There are those who value you and celebrate you sharing your thoughts.

Don’t stop. And rise above those who dismiss you for being young, who resort to name calling because they are threatened by a young person with new ideas, and who assume the worst about you as they mock you and attempt to diminish you for thinking differently than they do. You will not be diminished. You are a force. A force that doesn’t need to use name-calling and insults or to shame others to make an impact and stand against injustice.

You are the future.

~Jessica

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