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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why teenagers and young adults make us want to bang our heads on the wall...

...or tempt us to bang their heads on the wall.

For those of you not playing along on facebook today....especially those of us who teach first year students and those of us living with teenagers....remember, they don't think like us.

In fact, they frequently don't think.

I can see evolutionary advantages for this...after all, in different contexts, we need people who don't think twice about doing things those of us with mature brains might not consider...."Hellz no, I'm not wrestling that saber tooth...." or "climbing that cliff to get those bird eggs doesn't really seem worth the effort...."

We don't really benefit from the adolescent ability to ignore risk now, though, outside of the military. I seriously can envision my sons' soccer team storming a hill. Can't picture me and my friends doing the same. The soccer team, given the right incentive--be it food or hate or simply a dare--would be all "HoooRah! Get the enemy...shoot shoot, bang bang...we are bullets will kill them; their bullets won't touch me. I'm magic!" My friends and I would be at the bottom of the hill, saying, "That's an awfully long hill. Maybe if we come back tomorrow, erosion will have made it a little less strenuous....can't we talk this out? Oh, I just remembered, cereal is on sale at Meijer and I need to go pick some up....what are we doing here? I don't remember.....we could get hurt if we go up there....why do I want to do something that might hurt me? Can't we all just share some chocolate and be friends? I think those other people's bullets are out to get me...."

After all, how many of us look back on our youthful shenanigans and say, "It seemed like a good idea at the time..."

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