I am going to deviate from discussing unmotivated teens to highlight some very motivated young people- the survivors of the Marjorie Stoneham Douglas shooting. It’s hard not to be moved by the impassioned speech by Emma Gonzales, as well as by teenagers all over the country who have been called to action about gun control. Later I will share some observations about this issue, but first I would like to tell you why being an activist is good for your teen- especially if he is unmotivated.
You may not want to foment the seeds of revolution under your roof, but helping teens become more aware of the world around them is crucial to their intellectual and social development. It is equally important to encourage them to think independently and take a stand. Here is why:
The physical changes of puberty are only part of the story. During adolescence a teen’s thinking skills do not just “unfold” or ‘blossom,” they explode. While there may have been spurts of abstract thinking when your son was younger, it really takes hold in adolescence. He can now think critically about big concepts like justice and equality. He also develops greater self-awareness and the ability to see things from another’s perspective (except yours of course). These changes allow teenagers to better understand the societal conflicts that create headlines and drive politics (gun control, abortion, LGBTQ rights, etc.) and to form his own opinions.
This cognitive awakening also allows your…