Celia S. New York

The Kids Are Not Alright

Why adults believe teenagers are a plague to society, and why this needs to change.

September 26, 2016

Dear Future President/Baby Boomers and Generation X,

It is clear that you have painted my generation to be imbecilic and incapable, so what are you going to do about it?

I am only 15 years old, and it is true that I have much learning and developing to do before I mature into an intelligent adult, but it seems like the adults of the world, particularly ones born before the millennial generation, have the set idea that the young people of this country are stupid and do not deserve any respect. A common idea or joke is that we are incapable of using things or doing anything considered “classic”, like using Wikipedia over a textbook, or keeping important contact information in our phone rather than memorizing every one. This accusation hurts. We are mocked for our preference of quicker and more practical use of technology, yet when our parents or grandparents need helping figuring out how to do something as simple as turn on the television, we cannot bat an eye, at the risk of being deemed “disrespectful”.

This deep seeded hypocrisy is not the sole cause of age related strife. Our phones and other devices are typically given to us by our parents, yet soon later the same people are saying that we would be better without it. We cannot be blamed for this when our parents have every power to just limit our exposure if they so desire. Another prejudice against teenagers is that we are lazy. To put it simply, we are not lazy. The cause of our perceived “laziness” is you. You are mistaking exhaustion for laziness. We have to get up early to go to school, then right after go to our respective sports games and practices that can go upwards of three hours, handle clubs and extracurricular activities because “they are a necessity for college”, then do mountains of homework, then work on the weekends and nights for some extra cash or to pay for things that some parents will not and cannot provide for us. Adults seem to believe we only have schooldays to handle, but in reality, we are are booked hour to hour.

Adults these days take one glance at my generation, particularly the not-so-stellar kids, and go on to assume that everyone one of us is lazy and incompetent. This method of judging an entire group of people is not remotely effective. What would be the case if we selectively examined the baby boomers and generation x? Would we conclude that all adults in the world are self centered, bad at accepting blame, and hypocritical? Generalizations are very risky to begin with, then adding in the fact that the youth of America and the world is such a vast group, you really cannot put us all into one category, yet you continue to do so.

We understand that not every adult has a negative opinion towards teenagers today. It is not a generalization, but it is very true that the majority of older people do not believe we are a good group of people. They examine a few bad apples in the bunch and make sweeping generalizations. We are considered lazy, selfish, and stupid, which are harsh and untrue accusations. In reality, we teenagers are some of the most clever, quick-witted, creative, adaptable, funny, and smart people out there. We are ridiculed because we prefer fast technology over traditional methods, even though there is no denying it is the far better option. You believe we are a lost generation, hopelessly stupid and useless. So how are you going to change that?

If you truly think we lack common intelligence, you cannot blame us. We are not what you think we are, but if you insist we are, that is your own fault. Your generations are the teachers of today, and it is YOUR job to educate us. If we are lost and stupid, is it not your own doing? You cannot just wag your fingers at us and tell us to be better. It is not our job to be in charge of education reform, since you have given us no opportunity to voice our frustration. It is not logical to be enraged with us for being uneducated when it is your duty to educate us. You also raised us, and since children are a direct reflection of their parents, if we are so dreadful, perhaps you should look to the parents raising us to be like we are. We imitate the behaviors and gather intelligence from the grown-up figures in our lives, primarily parents and teachers. The best way to change us is to change yourself and how you influence us.

This prejudiced negative view of the younger generations is not a new concept. Each new wave of teenagers is ridiculed for being forward thinking and more interested in different fields. But just because it is not a new issue, does not mean it is a lost cause. Let’s make generation z the first group of teenagers to be treated with the respect we deserve. This never-ending cycle of blame can end if we all learn to treat one another equally; it is time to stop preaching respect without actually giving any.


The Teenagers of America

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School

BH-BL Honors 10 2016

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