Jacques (lacombe) wrote in brigits_flame,

Chatter Post: Mon, Feb 11, 2012

Feb 11, right?  Something like that....

Whew, at this rate I'll be 65 before I know where my shoes are.  Man... a whole month of 2013 gone, like, two weeks ago, and I'm still getting used to the fact that it's a new year.

- Week 1 Poll!  Be sure to leave feedback and let these great authors know you're reading!
- Week 2 Topic. It's for the birds.
- Edits?  Yes, please!
- Some enlightenment for you.

Long day for me.  I worked 8-6, got my annual review at work -- went OK.  Did an hour of cardio, then shopping and errands.  Finished making dinner at 9pm, and it's chatter post, then bedtime.  All work and no play makes Jacques a dull boy.

So I was driving to work and listening to one of those morning shows, and it got on my nerves.  The show was the "Couple's Court", and the listeners were asked to decide on a disagreement between a wife and husband.  The wife wanted their 18-year-old babysitter to be allowed to bring her boyfriend with her to babysit.  The husband strongly disagreed.  A heated public argument, and cue the listeners.

Of course, the listeners then spent the next half hour spouting on about how "kids in this day and age" are sex crazed, and this was obviously a thinly veiled cover for a sex-crazed night at their expense.  Teenagers can't be trusted, they're probably doing drugs, they're going to corrupt these children, males shouldn't be allowed in a babysitting capacity, and on and on and on.

I remember right before my 13th birthday. I spent a couple days taking a mental breath of air and releasing it before the birthday.  I knew that this was more than the start of my 13th birthday -- it was the the beginning of a 7-year period where I stopped being me and started being a "teenager", and everything that goes with it.

For example:
  • I was watched in stores, openly, by managers to see if I was stealing things.  I was not.
  • If I did something right, I was not praised in a personal way, but in the context of my being an exemplary teenager.
  • I was presumed irresponsible.
  • I was presumed destructive, and "up to something".
  • My minor successes were large successes because they were good "for my age"
  • I did not need to be paid well for my work at places of employment
  • Others who were older should be respected immediately and arbitrarily by virtue of their age -- I was not entitled to the same.
  • If something was destroyed or vandalized, it was a teenager's fault.
  • I am not as wise or talented or as capable as Random Adult
  • As a male teenager, I am basically a sexual predator.
  • I drink soda, eat junk food, and sleep until noon on weekends.
  • I'm probably shallow, fickle, and materialistic.
I see these values endure as I live my adult life -- just not to me anymore.  But, truth be told, the kids I see are inexperienced versions of the adults they become.  And I don't think we do them any service whatsoever by making them automatic suspects, treating them with disrespect, or looking down on them.  This is not a college frat house -- they do not require hazing.

I think this is a serious problem, and that it's something that each young person must overcome as they struggle to become responsible adults. I think it models discrimination, teaches that control breeds respect, and provides only a counterexample to how people should treat one another.  In short: we're doing it wrong.

I believe that teenagers become the best people they can be when they're treated like they already are their best possible self.  I think that it's OK for a convenience store owner to lose a candy bar here or there if they're buying a culture of respect from not watching those "damn kids" like hawks.  I think it's fair to think that, perhaps, legal adults are the cause of that vandalism, that the teenager in the car crash might not have been speeding, and it's OK to give a teenager responsibility -- with the understanding that there is at least a learning opportunity in the investment.  I think that there's a line between correctly inferencing a teenager's behavior and indulging in ageism. And I could be wrong -- maybe your experiences as a teenager are completely different than mine. What do you think?

Are the assumptions made about teenagers deserved, or is this a form of ageism?
Tags: chatter post
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