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          Everywhere you look, you will find teenagers.  Thank the Lord!  If this were not the case, the human race would soon fade into the sunset.  Regardless of your age, if you are an adult, you were once a teenager. Like it or not, you have been there.

          I have heard people sit around and gripe about teenagers doing exactly the things these people used to do when they were young.  I truly hope you are not one of those who doesn’t have anything better to do than sit around and criticize.  Get off your duff and get involved and you may see that some of the things young people are doing are better and a lot more fun than the things you used to do.  I am not talking about the illegal activities.  I am talking about the “different” things teenagers do, in this day and time. You might learn something and, on the other hand, you may be able to teach something that the teenagers will want to learn.  If you sit back and complain, you lose.

          Each and every young person who has passed through my office has been very knowledgeable, very capable and very much aware of the two-facedness of some of the adults in our society.  It seems as though when a person becomes an adult, he looks back at the younger person and fails to give him credit for knowing anything.  The human mind is very capable of retaining and using information in a rational manner.  Yes, it is the adult’s place to pass on knowledge that he has learned, but let’s do it with respect to the person we are passing it on to.

          What have you been teaching your children?  I get teenagers in my office who take dope, smoke marijuana, sniff glue, rob, steal, commit acts of violence; you name it.  These kids had to learn their traits from someone.

          Your job as an adult, if you plan to live out your life in a peaceful and serene world, is to respect the young person first, not to fear him.  Teach him the advantages of what you think is right and teach him the disadvantages of those things you consider wrong.  Give him a reason as to why you think the way you do.  You already know that shoving your ideas down his throat doesn’t work.  Sometimes a teenager will listen and not argue, but when he does disagree, he may have a point that you need to consider.

          Remember that when dealing with the teenager, he or she was raised in a society that taught him to want to know why.  So, in order to get favorable results from that teenager, give him a reasonable answer to why you want something done.  In the past, I saw my dad, who was a college chemistry professor, make decisions right off the cuff without considering the end results. I am sure all of us have done this many times.  Remember, what we did in the past is unimportant.  What is important is how we do it now.

          Also, remember the bear and the cookie.  Throw the cookie and then the punch.  Example: The cookie: “You have been reading this chapter and you are a very smart and capable person and I like you very much.” The punch: “Now, do as I have asked you to do.” For the teenager not to do what you have asked him to do, he will have to conclude to “self” that he is not smart and not capable.  Obviously, he is not going to do that.  He will not turn against himself.

          If you give the bear the cookie, he will not give up the cookie.  The bear will take a few punches without fighting back.  If the cookie is too small and the punch is too hard, the bear will fight and you will lose.  If the cookie is too large and the punch too light, the bear wins and you lose.

          Treat your teenagers with love and respect and it will be returned to you. Try it!


Chapter 23..The Simple Handshake, Please

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