With the relentless bombardment of drugs, warfare, brutality, and hatred, teenagers have entered into a war, not only with others, but more importantly, with themselves. Be it in the news, or through school projects, or even through conversations, we are constantly reminded of the tribulations of our world. And every time we see this, we are reminded that it will be our job to fix the wrongs of those before us.
In our society and in media outlets, teenagers are often portrayed as, and thought of, as self-centered and callous towards the world around us. In fact, these appalling portrayals and stereotypes have led to is living in a world in which many adults glare when they see big groups of teens in public areas. However, despite these pervasive stereotypes, teens do care. The fact of the matter is that the inner wars and battles that we fight against our own failures, desires, and ethics often overshadow our outlook on the outside world.
Take for example, myself. I am thirteen, taking all AP 10th grade classes; I’m on the debate team, and have a home that would make even the most insensitive being out there cringe. With everything coming at me from every direction, I rarely have time to pay attention to what is happening in my own town, let alone heed a war against nuclear weapons that we are fighting over in turkey and Saudi Arabia. Many teens have even more going on than this, which only makes my point that teens have the right to be unmindful even stronger.
My teachers and parents are always lecturing that I had better start “paying attention” to what is happening in the world, because one day it will be me who has to deal with it all. However, this is precisely why I don’t want to pay attention: one day I am going to be faced with cleaning up the chaotic world that the generations before have created. Right now I am overcoming the hurdles of youth. I don’t have room to worry about things like war, or hate, or violence. So often adults forget that they are creating a world, not for themselves- but for us. Although they may be affected by the short-term penalties of their actions, it is the generations subsequent to them that will have to fix the world. At this moment in our lives, we are dealing with peer pressure and emotional turmoil, and, although we care about the world, we hate feeling like all of these terrible things are happening and we are to diminutive and insignificant to make a real difference.
As teenagers grow into adults and have children of their own, they will look back at their own cluelessness and wonder how they had ignored it all. They will try to teach their own teens how to listen and care. They will forget the feeling of helplessness that they felt when another death or war and will try to force the weight of the world upon their children. They will not, much as adults today, understand. The only way to change the future is to change the present. However, until the day that we become the present, teens need to, and should be allowed to, live in their battles of today. For we are in a war, not against the world, but against ourselves.