Tag Archives: teenagers

Ten Great Things About Teens


What I Love About Teens

First a confession.  I taught elementary students for more than twenty years before I moved into the high school setting.  At that point in my life, teens scared me to death.  They seemed to have raging hormones, defiant attitudes, piercings, tattoos, too-tight clothes or pants falling off them.  And worse, they didn’t like their teachers.  My elementary kids loved me.  I felt sorry for high school teachers.  Then I became one. I was scared to death.  Yeah, there were some rough moments.  But here are the qualities I learned to love and admire about teens.

  1. They laugh easily.  They can laugh about absolutely nothing and then laugh at the fact that they are laughing about nothing.  Being around young people who joke and laugh is refreshing.  It makes me remember the joy of silliness simply for the sake of silliness.  Laughing feels good.
  2. They are young enough to question what is right and wrong.  As we get older we tend to accept things that are unjust.  We’ve seen unfair situations and have grown to tolerate them.  Young people are looking at these situations with newer eyes.  They help us question the status quo. They change things because they still believe they can.  They help me believe I too can change situations that are unjust.
  3. Teens are hopeful.  Their whole life is before them.  They are excited about all the possibilities.  They help me become more courageous and optimistic about the future.  Their hope is contagious.
  4. Teens understand technology.  Boy do they!  They’ve been immersed in technology for their whole short lives.  But here is the really wonderful part.  They will share that expertise with you.  My favorite teens, of course, were the ones who would assist me with technology issues without teasing me about my slight ineptitude in that area.  I’ve learned so much from them as I taught them.  It was a symbiotic relationship. It was teens who encouraged me to blog.  They believed I had something of value to share with others.
  5. Teens have great passion.  They are ‘all hands on deck’ when they take on a project of their choice.  They volunteer to take on huge tasks without even questioning the magnitude of it.  As we get older, we tend to stop and think, “Do I really have time for this?”  Teens can often accomplish amazing feats because they just go forth and do.
  6. I love their resiliency.  I’ve watched teens who lived in some very challenging situations accept adult responsibilities and handle them better than a lot of adults.  Usually no one knows their circumstances.  They raise younger siblings, pay household bills, moderate difficult situations at home, or deal with a parent fighting an addiction.  Some have an absent or unknown parent (or parents) and they accept the parent role long before their chronological age identifies them as such.
  7. Teens are generous.  They will take in a friend, buy someone’s lunch, care about the homeless, volunteer in a soup kitchen or rake leaves for the elderly.  Unfortunately you won’t see these stories in the media.  But I’ve been on the front lines and have witnessed it again and again.
  8. When I taught young children they used to write me little notes.  Dear Mrs.  Easley,    I love you.  Do you love me?  Check yes ___ or no___. They’d draw me a picture or bring me a flower or an apple.  I knew I would miss those notes when I moved to high school.   I was wrong.  I have a giant 3 ring notebook full of notes, cards and some pretty lengthy letters teens have written to me.  I have many more letters and notes that won’t fit into that notebook.  There are, however, a few differences in high schooler’s written communication.  They usually drop them on your desk privately on their way out the door when no one is looking.  But if they trust you, many will pour their hearts out on paper in great detail.  They will share their worries and also tell you how much you mean to them.
  9. They will remember you.  There is a fast turn around with teens.  Almost immediately after they leave high school (or your home), they value you.  They send you emails, call you, and will meet you for lunch.  I taught so many preschoolers, kindergarteners and first graders.  Do they remember me?  I’m not sure.  I know I remember them. The moment teens toss their graduation hats into the air, they begin to remember you fondly and seek out your advice.  Some realize this even sooner.
  10. Teens are loyal beyond belief.  If you care about them they will care about you.  Your age doesn’t matter.  They will shun your enemies and fight battles for you whether you want them to or not.  Teens may test you a little initially, but once they know you truly care about them, they will challenge anyone who seeks to harm you.

My best advice for working with teens?  Ignore the sagging pants, the sometimes surly early morning attitudes, and the crazy styles of the day.  Look beneath the pink hair and beyond the melt down of the moment.  Focus on the best qualities you find in the teens you love.  What we focus on will grow.  Visualize the success that you can see in their future and describe it to them.  Young people often first recognize their talents and visualize their future success when it is pointed out to them by someone they love and respect.  Are you that person?

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Questions from Teens


  questions from teens

Why Me?

I could have a lot of fun listing questions teens love to ask.  In fact that may be a great topic for a future post.  Teens are full of questions from the ridiculous, to the obvious and beyond the embarrassing.    But one question that would fall consistently within the top three is, “Why me?”

Why are you asking ME to do that? 

Don’t you see all these other kids doing nothing? 

googing off

Look at them goofing off!

Why aren’t you asking THEM to do anything?

Okay.  Sue me.  Life isn’t fair.  The truth is, “Yeah I see those other turkeys goofing off.”  I’m not blind.  Look at their body language.  Everything about them says, “Don’t even THINK about asking me to do something.”  The classroom unfortunately mirrors life.  Here comes a life truth I’m slinging at you.

 5% of the people breathing air are doing 95% of the work.

This isn’t a pretty thought.  Actually it is disconcerting and maddening.  It is blatantly unfair. But it is the truth.  You’ll find it in the work place.  You will find it in the home.  You will find it wherever you go.  I’m not sure if it is a universal truth; I only possess  the American experience.  Open your eyes and look around you.  You’ll be giving me a high-five for my astute observational skills.

But There is Good News

What can be the good news about you always picking on me and asking me to do all the dirty work?

What is fair about that?

Answer that question.

I dare you.

life truth

Okay I will.  Here comes another life truth you probably also don’t want to hear.  We often have to work a job before we are actually offered the job.  When you have an entry-level job your boss will always be asking you to do extra things.  He (or she) will look around and see others goofing off and then will ask YOU to do something no one else wants to do.

“What is the good news about that??!!”

You have already been identified as a leader.  Your teacher already sees it.  Your attitude has placed you in that 5% that will always be asked to do more.  While it seems like the slackers are winning momentarily, you are winning in the long run.

Why?  Whenever you do something extra… willingly, you are proving your leadership potential.   You will be the one your boss thinks of when a promotion opportunity happens.  YOU will frequently be promoted over someone with more experience, skills or seniority.  YOU will have already demonstrated your ability to work at the next level, because you will have been performing a supervisor’s responsibilities and demonstrating a management attitude.

Yep.  Short term, the slackers seem to be winning.  I’ll grant you that. But that is the attitude of the 95%.  Believe me there is a price to pay for passivity, just getting by.  The cost?  Lower self-esteem, acceptance of mediocrity, lack of pride in accomplishments.  Long term?  Regret.

When I ask you to do something no one else wants to do I’m really calling you a winner.  Congratulations!  Now say, “Thank you,” and just do what I asked you to do with a smile. 🙂