Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Kids are Alright

I'm on the left, rocking the 90's 'baggy' look.
On the swings.  Not cool.
Sullen, unruly, unpredictable, disrespectful, angry, smelly, noisy, reckless.  Full of rage, passion, wanting everything for nothing but most of all wanting to be LEFT ALONE!  Ah the life of a teenager.   Tricky years for everyone involved and I did apologise to my mum for mine.  She said "It's ok, I knew you'd get it out of your system eventually."  One very forgiving mother.  

Confidence boosted, I apologised to a teacher at our official 10-Year school reunion as it had occurred to me that I might not have been a joy to teach.  Her reply was "It's a bit late for that."  In hindsight, I think she was biting her tongue and just about resisting the urge to put me in a headlock and knuckle-rub my scalp for being such a pain in the arse.  Sorry (again) Mrs C and the rest of the teaching staff for my conduct during those final two years.

But hang on a minute, this is in defence of teenagers and so what I really want to say is this: 

For all of the above, and for the graffiti, shouting, swearing, pocketing of Mars Bars, staying out all night, lying about where you are / have been / are going, failing to call home, hanging about on the street with your mates and the poor choice of boyfriends / girlfriends / clothes - "Call that a skirt?!!".  For all the under-age drinking, smoking and for all the stuff you would rather not know about I do know this:

As a teenager, despite stating loudly (and frequently) "I'm fine", I remember being pretty ill-equipped to deal with some of the 'grown up shit' that tends to happen in life like serious illness, death, disability, and having to decide precisely what I was going to do once free of school, so my outlet was sometimes at odds with what most people would deem as 'acceptable' behaviour. 

But eventually, like most of my friends, I worked it out, grew up, moved on, and hoped that nobody took photos of the really embarrassing stuff (I am forever grateful that my generation enjoyed its youth before the advent of phones with cameras, and the only people that took pictures were the ones interested in photography - lovely composition on that pic Stacey!).  

It is easy to criticise the behaviour of teenagers, to look down on them and to conveniently gloss over our own misspent youth.  For those who did just that to the group of teenagers I was part of, I hope they would be pleased to know we have grown up to become artists, teachers, photographers, housing officers, fundraisers, chefs, business owners, volunteers, and parents that would, and do, set their own needs aside for those of their children.  It was just a phase and we did alright in the end.

I have quite a few years to go until I have the 'pleasure' of being a parent to teenage children, but I hope that when the time comes I will be mindful of my own journey in supporting them to make theirs.  That, and that they're model teen's who do the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, play music that I like, and never get into trouble.  If not, I'd better brace myself.....

Soundtrack: Today's title is inspired by The Kids are Alright by The Who

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