Teenagers get a bad rap. Sure, the crazy hormones can throw things out of whack for them every once in awhile, but there’s a lot we can learn from our teens.
Preparation is a good thing
As adults, we get used to flying by the seat of our pants. Have a presentation to give at work? Plan it out a few hours before. Have a new lesson to cover in the classroom? Read the book the day before. Busyness has turned us into creatures of the last-minute shuffle.
Teens though are presented with challenges that will determine the direction of their futures. The SAT, PSAT, ACT and other standardized tests put the weight of the the world on their shoulders. Even if they don’t like studying, most of them get pretty good at it.
Standardized testing has its benefits and drawbacks, but without a doubt it helps students learn the importance of putting in the work ahead of time. In the US, not many students can excel in the SAT without studying at least a bit. In Texas, for example, families opt to hire private tutors to come to their homes and help their teens study for the SAT. Months of practice and review will go into a single exam that takes only a few hours.
Sometimes you just have to sleep in
Teenagers not only can, but should, get up to 10 hours of sleep a night.
They don’t feel bad about sleeping in until noon. It’s what their bodies need, so it’s what they do. As adults, we often let stress and responsibilities stand in the way of what our bodies ask us for.
When you’re tired, take a nap. Go to bed early. Schedule life so that it works with your mental and physical needs rather than against them.
Technology is our friend
Every new generation is known for kicking the previous one’s behind when it comes to using technology. I can’t tell you how many toddlers I’ve seen playing on tablets and smartphones in just the past week. And the truth is, they’re more adept at it than I am. Sigh. I still fumble whenever I try to send a text message.
A high school teen’s uncanny ability to master and discern the helpful features of new technologies -- hardware, software, and everything in between -- serves them well in life. It used to be that a kid going off to college only had to worry about buying the right books from the campus bookstore. Today, there are bigger fish to fry like deciding whether to get a laptop or tablet to bring to class everyday.
Teenagers, especially girls, are well known for their fierce social bonds. Sometimes this can go awry and turn into cliques and gangs, but at its core the generosity and loyalty that teens offer one another is something we could all learn from.
Teens live a life more social than many working adults. Generally speaking, our friend groups become smaller and more insulated as we age. But teen friend groups, on a daily basis, bump up against one another and change form. They’re like social amoebas. At its most positive, the outcome of this is that good friends really stick up for one another when a hardship arises.
Even the strongest adult friend groups out there can use a dose more of that. There’s no such thing as too much compassion.