Teenagers aren’t stupid, just confused

Over the weekend we went to the theater to see Juno. I had to drag Becca to it, but it turned out to be one of the best movies. I loved it. It’s about a teenage girl who gets pregnant and the journey that follows.

When Juno has to tell her parents she’s pregnant it’s a tense scene. Her dad looks her in the eye and says “I thought you were a girl who knew when to say when.”

She was visibly upset about disappointing her parents. She thought on this for a minute, looked back at her dad and said “That’s just it, Dad, I don’t guess I know what type of girl I am.”

This really struck me. How often do teenagers do things we look at as stupid, when it’s more like them trying to find their way in the world? I know as a teenager I spent so much time performing for others that I really didn’t know who I was. I had to be one person for each set of circumstances. There was the Chad that hung out with my parents and was probably as close to the real me as there was. There was the Chad that hung out with the youth group at church. There was the Chad that worked with the other students on the school newspaper. There was the Chad that hung out with my friends. They were all different in some way. All modified to fit the people in that particular situation. It wasn’t until I left school that I finally figured out who I was. It turned out I was really a small piece of each of those versions of me. Combine them all together and you have the real me I am today. I didn’t really start growing up until I figured that out.

It’s very easy for me to look at teenagers and see the incredibly dumb things they do. But I also need to consider the things they are going through. They are probably trying to be 100 different people, yet none of them are truly authentic. They are being pressured from all sides to do things differently. I look back and wonder how I survived.

So next time the teenager in your life does something incredibly stupid, also keep in mind where they are at. I’m hoping I can do everything I can to help my boys discover who they really are.

Oh yeah, and go see Juno as soon as you can.

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