Talking With The Teens
When I was a member of my high school student council body, one of the things I participated in was Teacher’s Day. This was a day where the teachers got a day off from teaching and the student council members taught the lower school. I chose to teach Food and Nutrition to a group of 9th grade girls. I chose that group because they were at a fun age – most would have been between 13 and 14 and they were old and mature enough to respond to me but not yet too old to give me much “lip”, which I may not have handled that well, being only a few years their senior. We cooked, we laughed and the day was a fun one.
Fast forward to me now, a homeschooling mom of two – a teenager and a preschooler. Although I love my preschooler I would not willingly sign up to teach that age. They are too wiggly and too distractible at that age, and I know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I am not long on patience!
My stepson and I talked a couple nights ago in the kitchen. We were catching up, since he hasn’t been to see us in a year and a half (he lives in another state). We got to talking about school (he is a rising senior), band, and the selection process that the drum major and captains go through. We talked about why he auditioned for drum major and what being a captain means. It was a fascinating conversation, since I know precious little about marching bands, how they operate and how their leadership is organized and chosen.
My daughter, fresh off visits to Jamaica and Canada, regaled me with details of her conversations with family members she stayed with, and how differently they view things from her family here. Listening to her reason things through and express her thoughts was – again – fascinating.
I love talking with teens because they possess the vocabulary and reasoning to make conversations interesting, and their personalities have emerged and settled a bit. Some are shy, like I was, and take some drawing out to express themselves, while others are just waiting for someone to show a real interest in them before they start talking non-stop about whatever topic they are talking about. It’s been a sight to see how seemingly quiet kids turn into chatterboxes when you start talking about things they are interested in. Still others are confident and talk a lot, about anything and everything. All they need is a chance, an opening, a breath in the conversation, to get going.
What do you talk with your teens about? Are they open and expressive with you, or more tight-lipped? What are some ways you draw them out? I would love to hear from you.