Through what seems like a time that has gone far too long, being a teenager has never been easy. You’re expected to behave like an adult with full responsibility but are treated like a child when convenient. You aren’t financially independent and are still under the care and guidance of your parents. More so, quite often, you don’t have a say in the big decisions that may even affect your life in the long run. Circumstances lead you to believe that you are insignificant and are very little, not only in age but in the value and the experience you have as well. This however, is false! You, as a teenager can make a big difference if you wish to. The only problem is, wishing isn’t enough. You must dream big but also work towards those dreams. As children, dreaming was one of the only things we were good at, but through time, we have come face to face with the harsher realities of life and have started to find excuses to not do what we truly wish to be doing.
Teenagers are known to be impressionable creatures. They are easily influenced by the behaviors and occurrences around them. But what happens when the environment that they grow up in teaches them to “get over it, it isn’t that big a deal.” or to “man up”? what happens when it teaches them that “boys will be boys”, and that “real men don’t cry”?. What happens when concepts like rape and murder, that are crimes as well as concepts like theft and lying, that are morally wrong, get normalized? What happens is, we get habituated with this way of life. We tell ourselves that lying is alright because it is convenient and it won’t end with me going to jail. We condition ourselves to be okay with injustice, big or small. We become all too familiar with the way the world works and in the long run, it is as though our hearts get hardened.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I hate being a teenager! Who even came up with the concept?!” Well, the term was actually first used in ‘teenager’, a book written by jon savage in 1922 during the jazz age in America. The term, however, was popularized only in the 1940s. You see, the term and furthermore the label itself was conceived not even a hundred years ago. So then, what about the children from the age of 13-19 before the term was birthed? This particular age group was actually treated like adults. They indulged in labor, whether that was forced or was to help out their family, They were married off during this period of time, and so on so forth.
We, as teenagers, don’t have to obstruct ourselves from expressing our thoughts and opinions, standing up for what we believe in and even just being ourselves, or rather our true selves. Let us not restrict ourselves to what we believe a teenager is or is capable of. Let us not forget that we are ‘impressionable creatures’ and we can learn and unlearn things easier than others. We need to take advantage of this and form opinions based on facts and then back those opinions with strong convictions and courage. That courage can go on to inspire people of all ages and can spark a change in the very idea of being a teen and how a teen is looked at by someone of a different age group. Let us learn to fight for our rights and fight for the people who cannot do so and go on to become responsible ‘teenagers’. Let us all be intolerant to injustice. Let us do this respectfully and not forcefully. We must not react but learn to respond.
Below is a list of only some of the greatest accomplishments achieved by teenagers during different periods of time..
- Louis Braille Invented the Braille System at Age 15
- Laura Dekker Sailed Around the World Solo at Age 14
- Jordan Romero Climbed Mt. Everest at Age 13
- Nadia Comaneci Received a Perfect 10 in the olympics at Age 14
- Malala Yousafzai Won the Nobel Peace Prize at Age 17
- Balamurali Ambati Was a Doctor at Age 17
- Nick D’Aloisio Sold an App to Yahoo! for $30 Million at Age 17
- Saira Blair Was Elected Into Government at Age 18
- Pelé Won the World Cup at Age 17
- Jacob Barnett Gave One of the Most Popular TED Talks at Age 14
- Bobby Fischer Was a Chess GrandMaster at Age 15
- Alexander the Great Founded His First Colony at Age 16
- Flynn McGarry Had His Own Pop-Up Restaurant at Age 13
- Suhas Gopinath Became the World’s Youngest CEO at Age 17
- Mark Zuckerberg Founded Facebook at Age 19
- Joan of Arc Was a Saint at Age 19
- Annie Oakley Was a Champion Sharpshooter at Age 15
- Wayne Gretzky Was a Professional Hockey Player at Age 17
- Mary Queen of Scots Ruled Two Nations at Age 18
In conclusion, a teenager is a person of immense but sometimes unknown power who has not yet lost the ability to dream. A teenager is someone who doesn’t have wings, and so finds another way to fly. A teenager is also someone who at times feels suppressed by his apparent inability to do things. However, our past, present and seeming future tell us otherwise.
By Michelle L Dsa
Michelle L Dsa is a senior at the Newtown School, Kolkata and attends online classes due to COVID-19. She is also one of the leaders from Student Leadership Program (SLP) 2020 by IJM Kolkata. She enjoys music, art, good films, good books and learning languages. She has always had a voice to speak up but wasn’t able to find ways to do so. She is reading more books, doing extensive research and forming opinions based on facts. She wishes to voice her opinions with factual backing and looks forward to writing many more articles and grow professional communication skills.