The Learning Process

Life is chock fulla lessons, good and bad.

I’m sure many of you out there have wished, at one point, that you could go back and tell your younger self to get your shit together so that things would be better later on.

I’ve definitely thought it, numerous times, to different parts in my life, for various reasons. The biggest one for me would be to go back and tell my young teenaged self that making up those comic book-styled characters could lead to something more, if I focused on the writing. There are others involving members of the opposite sex and saying or doing something different.

But when I bring my mind back to the present day, I remember that going back and making changes would drastically change how things eventually turned out. In regards to those changes involving the opposite sex, the changes would have been for the worst.

As you, and those around you, get older and have kids, you try to impart some of what you’ve learned. The plan is to give them a hint of how life can be led and changed depending on your choices. If they are you’re own kids, you want to give them every advantage you can so that they may not make the same bad choices you made, or over look the things that you later realized was important. It seems like a good idea at the time, and when they are younger, the lessons you teach may not click right away, but over time, they might sink in. That’s all we can hope for.

But, as kids turn to teens, those lessons we try to impart, either verbally, or through examples, fall on deaf ears. Sure, some sink in. But for the most part, if they don’t want to hear it, they won’t. 

I still remember my teenaged years. I wasn’t a bad kid. But I could be a self-centered little prick to my parents. I know that when they asked me to do something, it was a violation of my oh-so important time! That many of the things I had to do for them were akin the labors of Hercules! Good god, how dare they! 

Today’s teens haven’t changed much.

Most are basically good, bright, smart, and funny. Yet, that self-centered thing is present. Unlike yesteryear, they have a lot more distractions, all found at home.

Back when I was a teen, I had a TV and video game system. Later on, as my teen-time was winding down, I had the internet.

Today, teens have an uber-channel universe either on their TV or their computers. They have cell phones that may as well be mini-computers. Their video games can be played with others online. In some ways, the real world around them just isn’t as fun as the virtual one they can dive into with their friends.

For some families, it’s twice as hard, especially if it’s a single parent trying to deal with teens. Not only do they have to juggle work and home, but try to tell someone who is so self-involved that they can’t pull themselves away from their virtual world to do simple chores, or even have dinner, because they fear they’ll miss the latest Facebook update. Some single parents might be lucky enough to have a support system of friends, siblings, and parents. But many don’t. This leaves the teens more free time to be swallowed up by their own little world.

Perhaps this is why it seems like many of this generation of teens have no respect for anything. They do as want and please, not thinking about the feelings of others. They ignore the simple things they have to do, so they can indulge themselves. They have no decorum in public, freely mocking or cursing, embarrassing themselves. Some are inarticulate in dealing with adults, stumbling over words because they have no verbal skills.

Of course, not all teens are like this. Many are individuals that just go along with others because of peers pressure. As it was when I was a teen, everyone thinks they’re an individual as they all wear similar clothes, listen to similar music, watch similar things, etc. Those who truly step away from the crowd are those that most likely have a better learning process than their peers.

That’s what it all comes down to, the learning process. Most teens will come out the other end better than they were. During those restless, self-centered years, filled with awkwardness and puberty, they are learning. When they start towards being an adult, most will have learned what they need to continue on with their lives. They’ll also learn that just because they are an adult, doesn’t make them all-knowing. There is always more to learn.

My concern rests on those that don’t heed the learning process. You probably know a few of them yourself. They are the people who can’t escape high school. They still live there, talk about it, and worst of all, act like they’re still there. Their learning process is quite shallow.

That’s why we adults try to pass on what we have learned about life, especially teenaged life, so that the teens in our life will have a better learning process than we had. Considering all the distractions they have now that we didn’t have, they need that extra help.

 In the end, it is up to them. They’ll become whoever they’ll  become. All we can do is give them the best of us and hope it’s enough.


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