Teenagers: We should listen to them!

I had to put Mr. Campbell aside for the time being. We had a family gathering for my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. As many of us as could gathered in their small southern town to honor them. They have been models of grace, love, fortitude, and success. We wanted them to know that.

Three of my younger sisters’ boys came with her. They are 11, 13, and 15. I don’t see them often so once I get over the shock of how much they have grown since the last time I saw them, I marvel at how much they have matured. For instance, my older sister and my mother had boxes of photos out, going through them to put together a montage for my mother. And the boys were surprised to learn that our family hails from the West. Circumstances took us to the South, all of us oddly enough ended up in the South, but our family comes from the West. They saw pictures of great-great relatives on a ranch doing cowboy things. Of course, we had more than likely talked about his before, but they are now ready to listen.

Watching them interact with my parents, disappear for a while to text and text some more, play with the Wii, then play cards, laugh with us, and listen in on conversations about current affairs, I saw the hunger in their eyes to be part of the family and be recognized and appreciated by their elders for their participation in even the hoakiest of games and talk. It was a marvel.

What was more astounding was coming to understand that what I had just read by Joseph Chilton Pearce was correct. At this stage, there are three important awakenings in the adolescent. We ignore them at the peril of our children. And unfortunately, I believe we do ignore these emeging qualities. Why? Not because we are ignorant or uncaring, but because we are too busy.

Take time to remember what is happening in the teenager. Maybe they have some valid ideas to offer during this stage of their lives that could possibly move the entire culture forward. Pearce summarizes below.

One is a high sense of idealism. They become very idealistic as early as 11 or 12. That’s part of the great brain change that takes place following the shift between concrete and formal operational thinking. They become very idealistic and look for models of this new idealism in their culture and when you get to thinking about the kinds of models we’re giving them, you shudder.

The second factor is the sense of hidden greatness. They’re convinced that deep within they have a core of themselves that is very great and that if people just realized how great they were they would respect them. Of course, all we do is try to capitalize on that and make them jump through our hoops to achieve success. But, they’re really talking about their own transcendence that’s involved in that big shift of the brain that occurs in adolescence.

Finally there’s a sense of great expectation, that something tremendous is supposed to happen, and they wait for it right around the next corner or the next hill moment by moment. They always gesture to the heart when they’re talking about this because, literally, their next stage of evolutionary development is in the offing.

Look for that heart gesture. And take advantage of this exciting stage of our children’s lives. Awaken them to the greatness within themselves.

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