I know it’s tough for a lot of teens out there, in that they all get tagged with the same attitudes and behaviours of the minority. When, mostly in my experience, they are quite a good bunch of people and I think when we do see them navigating the world of growing up and doing the right thing that they should be praised.
I was guilty over the weekend of pre-judging some teens at a local fair. The one had tried his luck to push in front of our children in a queue and when my supportive husband said ‘I think not’, this early teenager knew he had been rumbled and went back to his spot behind us and mumbled what I had heard sounded like an F-bomb. When I mentioned to him that I didn’t think swearing was a good idea he looked at me pained and insisted that he hadn’t sworn. I apologised and said ‘ I still don’t think swearing is a good idea’.
My supportive husband then turned around and reminded them that one of them had had a good idea minutes before as he had mentioned to the others that they shouldn’t swear in front of children. I commented that I thought that was a brilliant idea. The teen who had earlier been ‘accused’ of swearing then looked at me and said ‘Well, I can swear if I want to’. To which I replied, ‘ You can, but I still don’t think that is a good idea!’. I don’t think I would have been so brave had my supportive husband not been standing next to me!
I then heard his friend ( teen that had actually said to not swear) say ‘We shouldn’t swear as then the children will think it’s ok and go to school and swear and then get themselves into trouble’.
My jaw almost fell out and I suddenly felt a mixture of being ashamed of myself for tarnishing them with the teen brush and also a wave of warmth in my heart for him. He hadn’t been afraid to tell them all what he thought and it may not have even been cool for him but he did. The others looked at him and nodded. What I really wanted to do was give him a hug and ask him to point me in the direction of his mum to tell her what a fabulous kid he was – but think that may have a very uncool move to make on his behalf.
I have told this story to a couple of friends and I can’t stop thinking about the encounter. I have also had a few words with myself and reminded myself that I was a teen once…