Teenagers, they are rude and selfish, withdrawn and distant. That’s what adults think all the time. It seems kids have lost the ability to carry on a conversation. Or, maybe they can, but they just don’t want to make the effort. So they text and hide behind long swoopy hair when surrounded by adults.
This makes us think they are dysfunctional and possibly stupid. Futhermore, we become worried about the future of our country. If our children can’t speak intelligently what will happen to America? Will incoherent skate board punks fill the Senate?
First, you have to remember, every generation of teenagers has been seen as troublesome, dangerous and rude. I can still see my brother, with his long swoopy hair and shredded jeans as he headed off to Woodstock. Why would he want to talk to adults, they were so old.
I was trying to explain this situation to my 15 year old, Lexie, (who is actually very good at talking to almost anyone with ears) when I realized, most teenagers are actually pretty decent creatures. They simply don’t know what to say to adults who are not part of their world. They can’t talk to them about music or school or most movies.
After “how are you?” kids are at a loss, things get quiet and awkward so they start looking at the cell phones. A fourteen year old boy can’t say so a fifty year old man, “How’s your wife? How are the kids, has your 401K tanked yet?” So, what’s he supposed to do?
If a kid or teenager is stuck at a table or in an office with an adult, I came up with three questions they can ask and the old person will think they are wonderful, insightful and smart.
1. “So, what profession are you in?” “What do you do for a living?” Ask about work.
2.”Oh, you’re a teacher(cop, architect, ditch digger) “What’s your favorite part of being a….(dentist, rodeo clown, CPA, hair band lead singer)?
3. “What did you do before you were a …..(porn star, lawyer, boogie board champion)?
Three questions, that’s all they have to remember and adults will think they are brilliant and destined for greatness.
And guess what? Lex tried my system with a 45 year old man I introduced her to at a non-profit event and discovered he was an interesting guy!
He was just really really old.
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