I spend a lot of time with teenagers. Wait, that sounds possibly incriminating. What I mean is, I spent a lot of time watching teenagers…Damn it! That sounds much worse. Okay, my time spent volunteering as a tutor with struggling middle school students places me in a position from wherein I can observe the day-to-day behavior of a large group of teenagers better than most adults. (Yeah, that sounds sufficiently neutral and creepy-free).
And in my time with the up-and-coming minds of tomorrow, I have noticed that a lot of teens easily buy into a lot of fabrications we adults tell them to ease their pubescent angst; with some lies being more innocent than others.
Lie: Acne clears up on its own with time.
- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!…No, just no. Now, if you have like one or two zits on your face all throughout your adolescents, then sure, it’ll probably clear up. But if you have a face with a noticeable amount of acne, getting some Neutrogena products now would be a wise investment for the future.
Lie: Bullies will get what’s coming to them once they enter the real world.
- Although it would make us all feel great to know how the asshole who used to tease us relentlessly in gym class is doomed to spent a lifetime performing degrading tasks in low-paying jobs, the truth is that in a lot of situations today’s bullies end up being tomorrow’s corporate leaders. The reason being that the job sector often equates aggressive personalities with competence, so there is a reasonable chance that the sort of guy who used to bully you, will be the sort of guy who will be your boss one day (which goes to explain why so many of our employers come across as such douchebags all the time).
Lie: To achieve, you just need to believe.
- Believe what, exactly? That you have the talent to make it in your chosen interests? Sure, I can see that as an important factor, but it’s hardly ever the definitive ingredient to get you to your goal. More than believing in yourself, you will need to know people. Without proper connections you won’t go far in what ever it is you’re aiming to do. But with the need to acquire connections, also comes the need to flatter said important connections. In short, you have to be a bit of a kiss-ass politician, ready to adjust your views and positions to endear your possible contributors to your side. Which also refutes another popular fib claiming that a person “must always stay true to her/himself”, with the missing qualifier being: except if you want to climb as high as possible on that social ladder).
Lie: Wisdom comes with age.
- Absolutely. But so does senility, dementia, and an over-hyped feeling of self-righteousness. Yes, I know a great deal of elderly people who are brilliant, knowledgeable, and insightful. But by all accounts I have been given, they appear to have possessed all of those positive qualities as much in their 30s, as they do in their 60s, and 70s. On the flip side, I have also known (as I’m sure all of you reading have, too) quite a lot of elderly people who were racist, ignorant, and hysterically paranoid about the world. And, yes, I imagine they were all these things in their youths as well, but age hasn’t made them any wiser, it just seems to have amplified all of their bad personality quirks. The simple truth is that organs decay with time; your brain being an organ, will eventually start decaying, taking your mind with it. Age, by definition, is not a remedy to this dilemma.
I’m sure there are plenty of more examples of lies we tell teenagers out there (and if you have any good ones I would be more that happy to read them), but I think that I made my point. And to any teenagers reading this, let me just say–in the spirit of honestly–that we adults lie to ourselves when we say that the reason we deceive you is to ease the social pressures you’re going through. The greater reason is that we lie as a means of getting you to shut up about your problems (because shit if we know how you’re supposed to solve any of them). But to make it up to you, hear is a picture of a cute koala bear.
One thought on “Lies We Tell Teenagers…and Ourselves”
Well, my vocational high school teachers always lied to me, and of course, the rest of the students and themselves as well.
“They told us that everything will be fine if we just stay positive and enjoy everything.” So, basically, we just have to be the slave of what is going on and enjoy it? They never told us to stand up for ourselves when stuffs gone haywire. Apparently, they revised the word “passive” to “positive”. They underestimated their own children!
“They told us that if we work hard, everything will be accomplished in no time.”
Yes, sure. We can work hard, but we can’t accomplish everything in one day, or at least, most of them if they don’t teach us the art of “working smart”. To them, if someone is working hard, they are being productive. Ironically, they can’t make the difference between being productive and being busy.