Through the Eyes of a Teenager

I watched “The Secret” Saturday on the treadmill … and it got me thinking.

First of all, if you’re not familiar with the story – a mother and her daughter are going on a trip. And they have an accident. They are laying, side-by-side in the emergency room and the mother wakes up long enough to tell her husband that she loves them (they have a great relationship) and just when you’re about to get all gooey over the lovey-dovey stuff, the daughter flat lines.

The mother goes crazy and DEMANDS that her bed be rolled closer so she can hold her daughter’s hand. She’s screaming her name at the top of her voice – it brought goose bumps to my arms, quite frankly. I can’t imagine witnessing my child’s death.

I guess the trama of the situation is too much for the mother and she also flat lines. The doctors are on the verge of pronouncing them both dead when suddenly, they discover a pulse in the daughter.

The daughter wakes up, but she’s not HER, but rather her MOTHER. What follows is a series of coping scenes, blahblahblah. I won’t spoil it for you.

But suffice it to say, it was a bizarre, and rather interesting premise.

It got me thinking about my son’s high school experiences and what it was like to be a teenager in general. There is a lot of pressure – both internally and externally.

The girl’s raging hormones is one issue. She’s incredibly angry, insecure and horny all at the same time (remember those days? Ugh). And then, there’s a scene where she’s walking into school, as her mother, mind you, so everything and everyone is strange, and just a bit scary, given the personalities of some of the students.

I pray GD doesn’t have to walk down hallways like that. But how do I know?

I’m switching tracks for minute to tell you about a conversation we (the entire family) had over the weekend – stay with me, I have a point, honest.

MK plans on playing with the high school band at an upcoming Friday football game (he plays the saxophone, for you newcomers). So, we’re going to both support him and to attend a football game – the first one GD has been to since starting high school.

He’s not thrilled about going. In fact, he’s being a downright jerk about it. I think it’s important for him to attend at least ONE high school football game for the experience, right? And who knows? Maybe he’ll enjoy himself.

But I don’t understand where he’s coming from. WHY doesn’t he have any school spirit? When I questioned him on it, he said he didn’t mind going to support MK, but he had no interest in supporting his school because he hated his school.

Hearing him say that just breaks my heart. I mean, I couldn’t stand high school at that age, either. But I DID have school spirit and would defend my school to anyone who bad-mouthed it.

The way he said it led me to believe it goes beyond the normal homework/structure/getting up at an ungodly hour to attend school issues too. He told me that he hates his school because of all the crap that goes on right before his eyes.

The same kind of crap that was going down in the high school hallway in the movie.

The loud laughter. The shoving/pushing. The teasing. The tough talk. The crazy clothes combination. And the drug/cigarette exchanges. Right in front of his eyes.

This makes GD VERY uncomfortable. In fact, it’s safe to say, it scares him. We’ve talked to him about the dangers of smoking/drugs since he was a small boy in grade school. He knows how it can mess up your life.

And yes, he told me that kids have offered him smokes/drugs.

He doesn’t like any of it. He doesn’t like being around any of it. And of course, I don’t like him around it, either. But if you think, for one minute, that kids in private schools, Christian schools, even some homeschooled kids, aren’t offered smokes and/or drugs when you’re not around, you’re kidding yourself. It happens everywhere.

As a result of this crap that’s going on around him, he has lumped all of the bad into his overall opinion of the school. It sucks – mainly because of the few trouble kids. So, we talked about trying to focus on the good aspects of the school. His great teachers (which he seems to like this year), his buddies. The fact that they are pretty cool about leaving him alone and allowing him (encouraging him even) to take responsibility for himself (unlike his grade school who were CONSTANTLY breathing down that poor boy’s neck. I know they meant well, but geez louise, enough already).

And the fact that he hasn’t been to any sporting events and witnessed the excitement of the game, the crowd and the peppy cheerleaders leading the pack, well, I think he needs to experience that and see for himself that his school? Is not all bad. He just needs to be exposed to more good things. (We also plan on attending the school musical – I think that would be something else he needs to experience – especially since I talk about my AWESOME drama days when I was in high school).

Watching “The Secret” reminded me of all the crap teenagers have to go through nowadays. It’s so easy to bury our parental heads in the sand and just assume that when we drop our children off at the door, their day is going to be as innocent and carefree as their grade school days.

They are not.

Their days are chocked full of angst, insecurities and uncomfortable situations. And if I could live my son’s high school years for him to spare him the grief of simply being young and unsure of where he fits into the human race, believe you me, I would.

Though the movie wasn’t that great (though it wasn’t that bad, either), it did encourage me to look through my sons’ eyes and see their world from their perspective. Though I will never fully know what happens to them while they are walking those hallways, I think just being AWARE of their difficulties will help me, and them, get through these difficult years.

3 thoughts on “Through the Eyes of a Teenager”

  1. Karen,
    I know what you’re talking about with all the anst and insecrities in school these days. My daughter Britt told me I really don’t understand how the kids treat each other. She had me watch “Mean Girls”. I don’t watch many movies except for DVD’s at home with the girls and Eric. This was so scary to me that this is what is going on in school.

    Britt has alot of school spirit, but she doesn’t always show it. She plays in jazz band and love marching band. She’s proud of her band and will tell anyone she knows how much it has helped her have a place to belong.

    Erica, on the other hand was a cheerleader all through high school. It was important to show your spirit, even though our cheerleaders aren’t supported that well. She would smile and give her all. She also represented the school in choir and band. She would gladly stand up anywhere, any time to tell everyone how great her shcool is.

    I loved our school. Not really the classes, except for Drama and Choir. I think it also makes a difference if you have a core group of friends who share your interests.

    I think it’s okay not to be really radical about your school spirit but it says something about a person’s loyalty if they don’t feel a necessity to express it in some way, even if quietly.

  2. I didn’t have school spirit when I was in high school. And that was, oh, about 15 years ago! I am not so sure there’s anything really wrong with not having school spirit. Some of us just prefer to be different and follow the beat of our own drum.

    For me, it was mandatory to attend pep rallies as they were held during the school day. I had no urge to be a sheep like everyone else. I wanted to be me and I would decide if I wanted to attend a pep rally where we were supposed to make a fool out of ourselves publicly (chicken dance, etc). Usually I ended up skipping the rallies and walking to the gas station to have coffee with another friend or two who would skip with me.

    I never really felt like I fit in with any one group at school. I always felt like I was just sorta on the outside, hanging on to someone else’s shirt tails. However, after being out of school a couple years, I had one of the popular crowd walk up to me in a store and tell me how nice it was to see me and how she perceived that I was one of the popular kids, not she. That took me by surprise. She went on to say how she envied my ability to just be me and not need to “fit” in with the cool crowd. (Huh? I thought I wasn’t cool enough for the cool crowd).

    Anyways, my point is that it’s ok for GD to not necessarily have school spirit. He’s willing to go to support his brother. Isn’t that the more important relationship and the better reason to go? There are a lot worse things than lacking school spirit.

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