What we have:
What I wish we had:
Dad, I don’t want to be thirteen.
I don’t want to be a teenager.
Really? I thought that’s what tweens looked forward to.
Oh. Well, why are you scared?
Cause teenagers have bad judgment and do bad things. I don’t want to be one. They’re kinda like, ‘oh I’m so important and I can bully people, and I’m gonna take some risks and jump off this bridge’ and all that.
Well, I’m glad you don’t want to be one of those; that sounds pretty bad. But not all teens are like that. You don’t have to be like that.
I don’t know what scares me more, the image you have of teenagers or the fact that you see it as an inevitable part of growing up. All this time I was worried about you becoming your father when you grow up; meanwhile you’re just trying not to become an irresponsible bullying ass who makes bad decisions. Clearly I’m aiming too far ahead.
I spent a bit of time thinking about what my image of a typical teenager was when I was twelve. Like you, kids back when I was your age learned a lot about being a teenager from celebrities and teen idols we saw in TV and movies. So here are the key influencers that shaped my perspective:
It’s so beneficial for me to be away from those children in junior high and to be with people of my own mature growth. I’m looking forward to the intellectual stimulation. Nice meeting you boys. Bye.
There was another famous celebrity family at that time: the Partridge Family. They were rock ‘n’ rollers, always on the road and living that questionable life that stars live. Teenager Laurie Partridge once told her mom, “When you’re well-known, it’s an opportunity to set a good example.”
There was also a rowdy gang of thugs in a show about the wild 1950s, called Happy Days.
Ritchie Cunningham had such a foul mouth. I remember him repeatedly using such nasty slurs as, “Sit on it!” That show even had a biker. That was a big influence on me as a teen. I picked up the habit of saying, “Heyyy!” just like the biker, and I’m sure it had my parents worried about the kids I was hanging around with.
As for teen celebrity music idols, Charity7 reminds us of some biggies like Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, Leif Garrett, Andy Gibb, and Shaun Cassidy. You can read all about them on her Squidoo page.
I mean, look at these guys:
It’s practically a miracle that, even with all those influences, I still made it through the teen years without getting into too much trouble.
Seriously, how much harder could it possibly be for a 12-year-old today?
So, can you name some famous teenagers?
There’s Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez. And Taylor Swift –well, she was a teenager once.
Craig? Who’s that?
I think he started a Save the Children thing.
What about teenagers on TV?
What are they like?
They have sex young.
To be honest, I don’t know if it’s harder for teens to find good role models today than it was when I was a kid. It sure seems harder for a child to reconcile what parents are trying to teach them with what our culture seems to idolize. But was it really so different when we were growing up? Cheeky and I would love to hear what readers think.
Oh, and Cheeky wanted to make sure you knew that he remembered Craig’s name: Craig Kielburger, and he founded Free the Children.