Too asks: I want to know about teenagers’ great expectations, e.g. in their future careers, their future lives, and their families.
Hi Too –
There are some groups in the world that have very specific hopes, and you can find them easily and clearly. If you look up, for example, the Jewish people, to find what they hope for, you’ll get clear answers: a safe world for them to live and prosper and raise their children, freedom to practice their religion, and to be around when their Messiah comes. Straightforward, simple, easy.
What do dogs hope for? Love, security, fun, food, freedom… that’s really about it.
But what do teenagers hope for? Oh baby! The teenage years are a time when humans feel ten thousand things at once. They want many things, many of which are the exact opposite of each other. They want careers that will give them untold wealth, and they want to live alone in the woods forever; they want to live forever and to die tomorrow in an explosion of passion; they want a giant family with seventeen kids, and to be free and uncommitted to anyone. I can no more give you a specific answer to your question than I tell you how many stars are in the sky or, a question I love, “How long is a piece of string?”
But I will tell you one thing teenagers do love. And that’s to be heard. They may mumble in confusion for a few years, but once a teenager knows what they want to say, they want you to take it very seriously.
So my real answer to you is to go to a teenager and ask. Ask them about their hopes for the future, and about their fears. Ask what they think about families and careers and the world as a whole.
But don’t assume that what one teenager tells you is the same that another would. And don’t assume that the teenager who tells you one thing today will say the same thing tomorrow.
Accept and respect their passion, their confusion, and their brilliance. And give them the support they need to come up with answers they truly can own, and to create that world they truly hope for.
That, my friend, isn’t just what teens hope for; it’s what can give us hope for our teenagers!