So I thought about following the fold and writing a snarky post about government shutdown, but then I thought it would be more interesting to write about a much more mature demographic today. That’s right, we’re talking about teens!
Through various endeavors (mostly of the Church/music variety) I’ve had the opportunity to encourage teens to be more involved with this or that. I find it to be completely confusing and often have no idea what to make of these unusual organisms. However. I think I may have made an interesting discovery on the subject.
Now, If you have a teen, or if you know a teen, there are a few things that might cause you concern. For example, the young person’s vocabulary… More specifically his or her apparent and complete lack of vocab. In recent interactions with teens (mind you, I’m talking about the perfectly nice, well behaved teens) I’ve often been surprised that conversations don’t last long, as these strange souls apparently only know 4 or 5 words, and are incapable of speaking in complete sentences. Every response seemed to include the words, stupid, dumb, or “I don’t like this or that.” I was profoundly baffled at this strange view of the world. Do teens literally see everything as stupid?
After working with these unusual folks for a time, I found I could get them to enjoy or appreciate stupid things, (whether they were games, sports, music-type-things, etc), and sometimes even admit that they did like them. This sent me down a long and strange thought process that led me to one simple conclusion: When teens call something “stupid” or “dumb” what they’re really saying is slightly (if only a bit) more complex: What they are saying almost 90% of the time is “I don’t understand this, and I’m too lazy or scared to make the effort to make sense of it.” (the other 10% of the time whatever they refer to as dumb, is, in fact, actually dumb. Teens can sometimes be quite insightful).
this was a stunning revelation when I figured it out. So I called a few teens out on it. Now if you know teens, you probably know that, while their vocabulary is limited, rarely are they rendered completely speechless. Amazingly, When I called one such youth out by saying “So when you say you don’t like to sing, for example, what you really mean is that it’s hard and you’re scared to mess it up.” In this case (and in every similar case) the usually outspoken people suddenly lost all power of speech!
While revealing, good luck applying this information to any good use (other than enjoying seeing the reaction on their faces when they see that you know exactly what they’re thinking). these people are ridiculously stubborn. If they put their feet down on an idea, good luck convincing them otherwise. However, if you can manage to convince them to give it a try, often they find out that what they previously considered dumb wasn’t, in fact, all that dumb at all. This fact is one of the big reasons why teenagers are more intelligent and mature than, say, Politicians (who have an equally limited vocabulary, but they use much bigger words to sound smarter, but usually just sound dumber because they can’t seem to find the right context)
On a side note, If you have a family member who fits this description, don’t worry. At least you don’t have the type of teen that only speaks in grunts and moans (If they wear only black that can be a sign you’ve got one of these types). These teens can be helped, and in almost all cases, with some patience and understanding, teens vocabulary will grow in to ten or even eleven words! so no need to worry about that!
On a second side note even teens can be remarkably insightful. If a teen calls something in politics “dumb,” they are right 100% of the time. (no, I’m not just being jaded about government shutdowns and trying not to talk about it. it’s just stupid)