By Lauren Galley
We hear it all the time: Kids today have it tough, with so much academic stress, bullying, new social media territories that oftentimes begin to take control over our lives, and peer pressure that potentially leads to more dangerous outcomes than ever before, including self-injury, drugs, and eating disorders.
Yes, it’s all true. But in many ways, teens today have it easier than previous generations. We’ve all heard that from our parents and grandparents, and if you’re like me, you just roll your eyes and say, “yeah, whatever.” But when life’s stresses start to get me down, and I really stop to think about it, I see many ways in which what we hear is true.
During my middle school years I lived in a rural town in Maine and I took the bus to school. On those -20 degree mornings my friends and I would stand at the bus stop (which, by the way was right outside my front door), shivering and complaining because we had to wait five minutes for the bus to pick us up. As we entered the bus we would then begin to complain some more, as we stripped off our layers of coats because it was so hot (our bus had a super great heater). As I think about those days I begin to remember my father telling me his very detailed story of how he had to walk two miles in the snow or rain to attend school. I used to think “Wow, my Dad is really dramatic,” but now I see my woes pale in comparison and feel very thankful to be a teenager of 2013!
Just recently I was driving with my mom and I was texting a friend of mine. As I was sending my very important (well, I thought it was important) message my phone died…. Now what? My life is coming to an end because I am no longer in communication with the outside world! That’s ok, I thought, I’ll just use the car charger. Uh oh, I took it inside and forgot to bring it back to the car….This means I have to endure the errands, which will take what seems like forever, until I can arrive home to charge my phone and be a part of society once again! My mom just laughed and told me she could only talk to her friends at school and on a landline that was located in their kitchen, which was directly connected to the living room with no privacy at all. Once again, I am feeling even more thankful to be a teenager of 2013.
Being a teenager and having a job really helps us learn responsibility while earning a little extra spending money. My friends and I have discussed the frustration of not having enough extra time to socialize due to work and school. Many teens in other countries are forced to work and must give their earned dollars to their family in order to survive. Oftentimes, they have no choice but to be subjected to tough manual labor and the hours are quite long. I am so lucky and thankful to be a teenager of 2013!
Technology, Innovation, and Creativity give teenagers the ability to make big dreams come true. Whether you dream of being the next Picasso, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey, you can receive an education, work hard, get connected with the best of the best and achieve great things. Opportunities are endless and when I really stop and think about it, I have had more opportunities and experiences than many grown adults. I am excited and thankful as each new chapter of my life begins.
So when I start to feel the self-pity party coming on, I think about all the ways in which it’s great to be a teen today. And for all these things, am I thankful? You bet I am! As you celebrate the month of November take a little time to truly see and feel how thankful it is to be a teen.