Kids these days, I tell ya what.

High schoolers are terrifying.

I mean, do you remember being a teenager and ushered into the auditorium and having to sit through some presentation or assembly?

There is an inherent skepticism on the individual level, that proliferates in a room of other teenagers.  “What can this adult possibly tell me about myself that I ALREADY KNOW!?”  Ahem.  Maybe it’s that whole, you-don’t-realize-until-you-get-older….thing, but I remember feeling that way, and the first time I ever stepped onstage as a “grown up” for 1100 students for a Deana’s Educational Theatre show, I was reminded of how my peers and I felt “back in the day” about required school assemblies.  It made me feel a little nauseated.

After being with DET for almost three years, I can attest that it’s not always easy to garner the attention of an entire class of teenagers but it is certainly not impossible.  And YES it varies from school to school, town to town, state to state.  Seriously.

So over the past few days, some members of the company and myself rehearsed and presented a new show that’s in development, to a couple of groups of teenagers. Talk about intimidating.  Classroom setting!  Digital Age!  Short attention span! 

I really felt out of place generation-wise when I saw a sign that had a big X over a photo of ear buds.  “In MY day, in MY high school we had CD players, not these teeny inconspicuous ipods.” 

But something rather miraculous (strong choice of word I know) happened.  They were engaged during the entire presentation.  And they had TONS of feedback!  The parts we thought they would find corny, they fully accepted.  And they pointed out issues that we hadn’t really thought about. 

It was then that I also realized that these kids respected us, and maybe some of them even looked up to us.   Many of them also cared very much about the issue we were trying to address (cyberbullying) and gave us detailed responses.  Definitely encouraging.

I guess I kind of fell for stereotypes about teenagers, even though I’ve already been one. LAME.  And I guess these kids were already ahead of ME because they were completely open, accepting, and willing to help us help them.

sniff.  That is all.

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One thought on “Kids these days, I tell ya what.

  1. Cyberbullying. Excellent topic for a play.
    As for dealing with younger generations – I completely understand your nervousness with dealing with younger people, and you expressed that feeling so well!
    Personally, I find that I have a lot of friends who are twenty-five or more years younger than I am, and I often worry about being relevant to them. I worry about being seen by them as a relic that they wish would dry up and go away. I worry about them just being polite to me, and then rolling their eyes behind my back, because they simply don’t want to hurt my feelings.
    Then. I realize that when I get out of touch with the younger folks, they are the ones who contact me, and they ask me to join in with their activities (Which usually revolve around theatre or alcoholic watering holes.) They actually seek me out.
    I think the reason that people can reach across generations and be relavant and wanted is because of the universality of the human experience. The trappings that surround the younger lives may be different (IPODS, etc.) but the ESSENTIALS of existence never, never change. When it comes down to it, we are all the same, and we all NEED each other to be happy.
    GREAT post, kid!

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