Posts Tagged With: Adolescence

A Toast to the Younger Generation, Some of Them Anyway

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for those good kids, the ones that disprove the “teenager’s are all rotten theory.”  I know some amazing teens who are respectful, kind, thoughtful, conscientious, giving, selfless, happy, easy-going and still fun to hang out with. They continue to step up that way even when others their age revert to two-year-old behaviors of selfishness, tantrums. disrespect and disruption.

I want to hug these out of the norm happy wonders of the human race! I want to thank them for trying so hard. They deserve kudos and congratulations. They give me hope for our future.

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(Photo credit: dontstealmypen)

These kids volunteer without complaint. They show up for assignments without whining. Listening without interrupting or texting is one of the most respectful things I’ve seen. They smile or wave at grownups without getting embarrassed. They say “thank you” and “please” and “sure, I can do that.” They show up to class on time, prepared, with homework done. They babysit siblings and neighbors and can be trusted to be responsible and reliable. They don’t back talk or make snide remarks or respond with sarcasm or a demeaning tone. They use appropriate terms like “Sir, Ma’m, Mrs. Ms.” They express appreciation to others. They want to make a difference where they can.

Being in the “betweenness” of childhood and adulthood isn’t easy. It looks easy to the adults because they have selective memory of their own teen life being all fun and hanging out. But if they’re honest with themselves they’ll also remember how tough it is trying to figure out who they are, what they want to become, where they’re going, how to manage the maze of hormones and emotions and angst and homework and social insanity.

If you are a teen who’s giving it your best shot, trying to make good decisions, working to help your family, being a good friend, being respectful to the adults and others in your life, pat yourself on the back, buy yourself a shake, give yourself some well deserved credit. And know that you’re noticed and appreciated and yes, even loved!

If you have a teen in your life who is one of these great people, please let them know you appreciate how hard they work at being a good person. Let them know in real, tangible, out-loud ways, that they are wonderful and cared for and doing a great job.

Don’t blow smoke and make something up either. Praise the real things you’re seeing. And don’t sandwich it between criticism of what they aren’t succeeding at. Just let it be out there all by itself. Here’s a few suggestions:

“You are doing a great job at being kind to your brother.”

“I love how you hold the door for people!”

“Thanks for helping out with dinner today, it means a lot to me when you step up like that.”

“I know it isn’t easy holding down a job while going to school, you’re da’ bomb!”

“I appreciate how respectful you are to your mother and other adults.”

How glad I am to see such good stuff happening in the lives of young people. I’m making it a priority to send out more appreciation, live and in person to these good kids. I hope you’ll join me.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Hope, People, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unlocking My Diary

My very first diary had a lock on it.  Trembling with anticipation, I took the tiny key and inserted it into the locking mechanism and turned until I heard that magical sound. “Click!”  The tab popped open and there before me, lay fresh, untouched, lined pages just waiting to have my story written on them.  Where would I hide my treasured words, for surely a lock would not be enough to keep interlopers away.  I had little brothers and sisters and a big brother, too.   As a fourth grader, there were secrets to tell, stories to write, friendships to analyze and emotions to explore.  At least I thought so.

Here is a sample of my writing from that diary.

“Today was a bad day.”

Later on that same month I wrote, “Today was a good day.”

Not my best descriptive writing.

The bad days clearly outnumbered the good ones. Fourth grade was not a good year.  Ever.  For anyone I’ve ever talked to.  (But that topic is for another day.)

Further on in the year I resorted to smiley faces or frowney faces.  Apparently writing my thoughts and feelings proved a task beyond my years.

Teen Angst

I didn’t begin journaling in earnest until I was thirteen.  How serious could my writing have been back then?  Serious enough to me that I wrote every single day.  I filled pages and pages and pages of lined paper, front and back.  I have several boxes full of binders that served as my journals through my teen years.  Unfortunately on many of those pages I wrote in pencil.  Or maybe fortunately, since I’m pretty embarrassed about who I was back then.  Clearly in my teenage ramblings I was angst ridden, overly dramatic, too sensitive, lonely, shy, awkward, geeky, confused and sad.  I was also naïve, gullible, suspicious, angry, silly and unusual.  It takes some chutzpah to let myself read that stuff.

Remember yourself at thirteen?

I try to be kind to that young woman.  She was simply trying the best she knew how to get through life unscathed.  She had led a blessedly simple and fairly sheltered life.  The teen years are a brutal, eye-opening, tangled path to make one’s way through.  Writing about that journey helped make sense of some of it.  Admittedly, from this many years looking back, there was some missing logic, some flawed thinking and some wrong assumptions that were significant and painful to navigate.

I’m thinking about rereading all of those journals.  I’m not sure I’m up for it.  Not sure my psyche can face those raw, bared emotions.  It’s probably great stuff for use in a novel.  Some of it belongs in a fire, a ritual burning with some kind of ceremony, like a cremation.  Wouldn’t a formal goodbye, a letting go, be psychologically healthy?

Incriminating Evidence

Not sure I want my children or grandchildren reading about my life without some explanations, justifications, photographs, background info, apologies.  It would be a really good idea to do some editing, some separating of the wheat from the chaff, winnow the merely embarrassing from the highly incriminating.

Maybe I could just write in bold black letters on the boxes, “To be burned, unread, upon my death.”  There ya go.  No reliving the past required if I do that.  Ah, but would they, my children and grandkids honor that request?  Would you burn your mother’s journals without reading them even if she asked you to?  Me neither.

Slogging Through

There are three or four boxes of journals stacked in my closet.  More than half from my “grown up” writings.  Those others, emotion laden and heavy with more than paper, keep calling to me.  So I’m considering the idea of slogging through the muck of my teen life and draining that  swamp memory a bit.  It’d be nice to clear some space in the closet.   Even better, it’d be nice to clear some space in my head.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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