Bemoaning the lack of respect from and deploring the state of the values of my generation seems to be the national pastime these days. You think we think you are a tyrant and we think you think we can’t think at all. Suddenly, or so it seems, someone has drawn a Line of Control between AdultLand and Youngistan, and neither of us can get a visa to cross over. What you ask for is obedience, what we feel is subordination; you think we want our freedom but what we really want is our independence, if you know what I mean. We’re on our way to where you are but you’ve forgotten that you too were once the way we are, so here’s reminding you about the three things teens today want…..you to do.
Let us CHOOSE. Please remember that the choices we make today decide who we will become tomorrow; if we accept all your choices, all we will grow up to be is another you. Not that it’s a bad thing, but we believe we can make our own special difference to the world. Please understand that overnight, we’ve been offered a lot of options and have had to make a lot of decisions – you might or might not agree with some of them but please understand that we will never learn to recognize a wrong choice without making a few of them first. Also, please know that we must experience what is hateful about a thing before we learn to hate it – we did not try knowingly and knowingly, we will not try again.
Please remember that our lives are no less complicated than yours; we too have a lot to deal with and sometimes, we don’t deal with everything too well. Please accept that academics are a mere blip on the teenage radar; let us choose what we want to do – right or wrong, we will emerge a little wiser. Please remember that fruit punch isn’t alcoholic and ‘funk’ isn’t a bad word; that mental growth is accelerated during phone conversations and that doing nothing is a wonderful thing to do. Please understand that we wear short skirts not to test your limits of decency but our own and that we spend hours on the net because we genuinely enjoy it. Although you may think we are too immature to be in a relationship, please remember that our hormones cannot hear you. Accept that we are growing up earlier than we should but we cannot think as rationally as you do. And oh yes, salads, rejection and peer pressure all suck.
Let us LEARN. Please realize that though you have been the ideal teacher so far, we have started spotting chinks in your armour and have set out to repair them ourselves. Before you tell us to learn from our mistakes, please remember that we are also learning from yours. Please keep in mind that we are more confused than inquisitive and that there is a limit to how much you can help; just like our rooms, we have to learn to sort out our own messes ourselves. It really hurts when you help us without our asking for it; though it might not seem so, most of the time we are trying to help ourselves. You are always saying that life is the best teacher – please remember that and stop trying to take its place…….we love you and respect you but we’d rather be our own role models. Don’t be overprotective – we will learn that backbiting friends are worse than no friends at all and that regular cramming is better than irregular studying(yes that actually makes sense to us). Don’t worry about the values bit – we got them with our genes. Stop being so proud when we do something that you taught us to do, well; be prouder when we do something we’ve taught ourselves, even half-successfully. Finally, stop telling us to learn from your example – if you open your eyes wide enough, you have a lot to learn from ours.
And lastly, let us LIVE. Please don’t forget that we don’t like you breathing down our necks any more that you like your boss breathing down yours. Please know that we have a mind of our own and that the best thing you can do for it is to let it be. We think you think we think we can’t live without you, but as teens, please remember that sometimes we can’t live with you.
By living, we choose to learn and learn to choose. And don’t worry – with all the choices and mistakes and opinions and misconceptions and hormones and problems, we will grow up just fine.
After all, you did too.
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Note : I wrote this when i was seventeen.