Live life in the moment | Teen Ink

Live life in the moment

March 1, 2009
By Gokce Yurekli BRONZE, Sayreville, New Jersey
Gokce Yurekli BRONZE, Sayreville, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Tell me about the living conditions when you were young.

Dad: We had no electricity. My family of seven lived in a two-bedroom house with no electronics or hot water at our disposal. We had a small stove for heating food and keeping warm in the bitter winters of Turkey. My dad worked full-time; my mother was a housewife. In those times, women were not allowed to work.

Mom: Same as your dad, honey. But I had a three-bedroom house (laughs). I was second to oldest, meaning I had to take care of my five other siblings. I tried helping your grandmother with everything: washing clothes with my bare hands and bringing groceries. Your grandfather worked from five in the morning to eight at night. There were times where I didn't even see his face. It was very tough, honey. Life was very tough.

What did you do for fun?

Dad: Fun? Oh it was great. My friends and I would play hide-and-go-seek and soccer for hours.

Any allowance?

Dad: Ha! We could barely put food on the table. Only on special holidays did my father give me couple of liras (Turkish currency).
How was life as a young teenager?

Mom: Not like what you have now. I was forbidden from having a boyfriend. We weren't allowed after dark. Danger lurked in the streets!

These days, teens watch hours and hours of television. How was this like before?

Dad: We had the only TV in the entire neighborhood. Every night, men and women would line up to watch the news. Our house was a cinema. For us, however, it was a source of knowledge. We were fascinated by television. Instead of watching useless TV shows, my father would force us to watch news broadcasts so to expand our minds. It is essential for teenagers to know about the world and the issues governing our everyday lives. Gossip, celebrities are all junk.

Mom: Your father is right. Watching hours and hours of TV ruins your life and takes time away from family activities. It is crucial for a family to sit down and talk to one another. When I was young; breakfast, lunch, and dinner were always eaten as a family. No TV or radio on. It was the time to share feelings, talk, and laugh.

Look around now, have family values truly changed?

Mom: It is broken, honey. Nowadays, families are distant. Teenage kids are disrespectful and rebellious. The bond that keeps families together is ruined.

How do you view the life today?

Dad: Life's less complicated. Circumstances are in your favor. It wasn't for us. The younger generation is getting dumber by the minute. There are too many options to choose from. Getting there, however, is a different story. You are L-A-Z-Y! All just want the easy way out.

Mom: Exactly'. (Sighs) Nowadays, it's about the brand you're wearing and how much it costs. You've heard of the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover.' Well, that's exactly the way people are these days: Always judging individuals before getting to know them.

Dad: Yes, today we have more options. But people have gone strange. Nobody says hi to each other anymore. Social relations have gone abrupt. Life style has changed. Nobody helps each other. There is more competition. Who can get to the top first? It doesn't matter who you have to step on to get there. Just get there. Do you think that's normal?

Do you have any suggestions or last words before we depart?

Mom: Don't be afraid to showcase your talent. Understand that life's too short to be wasting it away. You need to acknowledge your options and learn to do what's best for yourself. You are the next generation.

Dad: Honey. Your mom nailed it. How am I supposed to come up with something better? Well (rubs his chin and looks at the ceiling) Ataturk once said, 'Victory is for those who can say "Victory is mine". Success is for those who can begin saying "I will succeed" and say "I have succeeded" in the end.'

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