This conversation has shown that there are many deep thinkers among teenagers today—analytical minds that are willing to look deeply at themselves and at society—and then articulate clearly the truths that they have seen.
But today, many teenagers stagnate because adults give them no room to test an awakening that has grown in their spirits. They are relegated to the role of child, and parents seem so afraid of their children's failures that the teenager cannot learn from their mistakes. They do not make mistakes because their choices are taken away from them.
Throughout history and throughout the world, many cultures and races and tribes of men ushered their children into adulthood at puberty. There was a rite of passage, a spirit quest, or a ceremony to mark the occasion. At twelve or thirteen, children became a contributing member of society. Girls were married and began having children of their own. Boys started to learn a trade.
Even the Bible shows a spiritual awakening that occurs at the age of twelve. Most of the strong people throughout the Old Testament, who changed things for the better, started their mission—their battle—at very young ages:
* Joseph was just 17 when he first had his dreams and was sold into slavery.
* King David was a boy in his father's field when he was anointed as king.
* Josiah was 8 when he began to rule, and then at 17, he purged the land of evil.
* Jeremiah was young when God called him as a prophet.
* Mary was in her early teens—as she was still unmarried—when she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus.
*And Jesus was 12, teaching the scribes and Pharisees in the temple.
In the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, a father comes to Kiyosaki for advice. His son wants a car, and the dad doesn't know whether he should buy it for him or make the kid earn it on his own. Kiyosaki suggests that the father use this as a teaching moment, so the man and his son play the game Cashflow and discuss the wise use of money. Then the father gives his son $3000 with a stipulation that he cannot directly use the money on a car.
The boy starts investing in the stock. He studies books from the library and quickly loses $2000 of the money his father gave him. But he's learned some lessons and he goes back to get more library books. He's forgotten about the car—material possessions mean nothing in his newfound freedom.
But freedom isn't really the word, is it? It's purpose that he found.
Having a Purpose
Teenagers have a God-given mission—to change the world for the better—and instead they are acting the role of children, twiddling their thumbs, and being told that success (good grades, going to the best colleges, finding security in a good job) is all that matters. Because somebody wiser has learned from experience that that is how the world works.
Oh, I agree with gergiskhan that experience has deepened the adult perspective, but experience can only do two things:
* give you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes
* or just kill your spirit for adventure
With our society's focus on success, we are more and more likely to learn that living on the edge is too risky, and it is better to be safe than to live with vigor and passion.
Yes, teenagers yearn for freedom, but I don't think that is what causes teenage angst. It is bitterness that comes from the feeling of ineffectiveness when a passion burns in their hearts to affect the world with fire. And truly, our world needs such an awakening.
What Teenagers Need
Therefore, this is what I believe teenagers need from adults—what I hope to give my own kids today as well as when they are teenagers:
* An environment where failure is celebrated as equally as successes
*A safety net where experiments gone awry can cause the least amount of trouble
* The encouragement to try new things
* The empowerment to make things happen
* The respect and trust of a mind and a heart that is capable of making wise decisions
And The Winners Are...
It was a very hard choice to decide who to award the books to. Everyone was very thoughtful and well-spoken. The three finalists are:
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with an address that I can use to ship your Little Brother books to you.