The State of Youth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Often I listen to my mother and her friends discuss their views on what is happening in the world. They take turns between sips of tea to contribute their two cents into the melting pot of critique. They express grave concerns about how our country is run and the repercussions of decisions made today that will come into effect by the time I am mature enough to sit patiently at a table without fidgeting.

I also hear the same words spoken by other adults who have passed their midlife crisis but have not yet reached retirement. Through all the political fluff they preach, what is poignant to me is opinion of youth today, of those just like me. Essentially, no one seems to be elated over the state of the youth. We seem to be naive, meddlesome little monsters who crave violence or sex, or both. And better yet, everyone has a finger to point for why being 13 years old today is so radically different from the cherry cola, drive-in movie days when seeing a married couple sleep in the same bed was taboo. Now, few do a double take when seeing a young girl dressed to thrill.

And who is to blame for this perception? The media for feeding us their images of how we should look and act? Parents for not doing more to prevent the misbehavior of their children? The government for plastering images of war and violence on the news? Or ourselves for being so impressionable?

The concern over the condition of my peers has been acknowledged. It is also admirable for adults to actually pay attention to what their children are doing, and for that I am grateful. But what we don't need is someone to add gasoline to the fire. Reacting with anger will only pass on more anger to us. Since we hit the age of mirrors and make-up, we've been seduced by corporate people who entice us to buy their products. Some of their trends catch on, but a lot do not.

We may be young but we aren't brainless. Watching "Pulp Fiction" will not make repressed teenagers feel the urge to wield a gun and replace our vocabulary with the F word, just as "Bowling for Columbine" won't make every kid become a peace sign touting Bush-basher. An honor roll, respectful student does not suddenly wake up one morning and want to cut class to smoke cigarettes in the bathroom. The process happens gradually.

What we must transcend is our need to blame others. Doing this diverts us from the situation at hand; how do we stop this apparent decline and redefine the line between right and wrong? If you want to take a step forward, what we have to do is be more productive. We don't need to fight our parents' wars any more, or feel rebellious because one day nothing we do, as shocking or sickening as it may be, will stir us any longer.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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BaleighBoo said...
Dec. 23, 2008 at 4:32 am
I AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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