Thursday, June 17, 2010
We should all think like teenagers...
**Note: I tried to post this a half dozen times today with no success, so I'm truly sorry it's so late in the day.**
Minus the angst-ridden drama, of course.
Watching The Early Show yesterday morning, I was struck by something a guest psychologist said about teenagers and their risky behavior. She said that teens are, and act, very much in the present; their brains are not developed enough yet to really focus on the future and the consequence of their actions.
While this is a horrible thing as it relates to the recent YouTube phenomeneon of teenagers seeing videos of other teens engaging in risky stunts and shoot their own videos to "one-up" their peers, I think there is something positive in the teenage mindset of living in and for the present.
I never had this mindset as a teenager, and neither did the majority of my friends. We were good, conservative, high-performing, forward-looking kids. My parents raised me to believe that school was the most important thing, that good grades were crucial to my life's success and that choosing my friends well was the most important decision I could make.
Therefore, I was focused on my academic and dance success. I surrounded myself with like-minded friends. Our idea of fun was giggling through school group projects and drinking Shirley Temples at Father-Daughter dances. I always looked to the future and how my actions would affect that future, positively or negatively. First it was making honor roll and getting perfect attendence, then the goal was getting into the National Honor Society and the top of the class, next it was all-important to get into a good college, then I needed to succeed at that college so I could get a good job... then... Well, then I realized that I spent what was probably some of the best years of my life so concentrated on the future that I forgot there was a present.
Everyone seems to be harping on the importance of staying in the present, being mindful, not obsessing over the past or worrying about the future... as adults. Yet, I guarantee when most of us were teenagers, that was the furtherest thing from our minds. Now, we're examining this notorius teenage mindset in a negative light.
But, is it really negative? Wouldn't we all benefit from throwing our adult worry and stress to the wind and embracing the invincible, carefree mindset of a teenager? Shouldn't we stop analyzing the consequences and just take the risk? After all, our minds are developed now; we can, within a much shorter time than we think, realize whether a risk is good or bad, beneficial or harmful.
Pretend: You're a teenager. What risk are you going to take today?