Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our "Brain Damaged" Teens

                I wonder how many generations of parents would swear that their own children were “brain challenged” when they were teens. I know our grandparents shook their heads and wondered what madness had overtaken their daughters when they swooned over the Beatles. When had Sinatra lost his appeal? And for heaven’s sake, what possessed our sons to shape their hair into a duck’s backside? What was wrong with a neat crew cut? Yes, those “brain challenged” teens of the 1950’s and 60’s are our parents.

            They grew up to wonder if their own teenage daughters and sons were “brain challenged.” Why on earth would their daughters listen to disco music when they could be enjoying “good” rock & roll? When had Elvis lost his appeal? And why didn't their sons ever dress nicely? Did they always have to wear the same pair of ripped jeans and that ratty old t-shirt with the phosphorescent marijuana leaf on the front?  Yes, we are those teens.

            More than once, my mother told me she hoped that when I grew up, I would have a teenager just like me. (That’s an ancient Chinese curse, I think, passed down from generation to generation.) My husband and I look at our boys dressed in sagging pants, six inches of underpants showing at the waistband, and wonder when our offspring became “brain challenged.” Must have been about when they turned 13. I have hopes that this next generation will outgrow the “brain challenged” phase and become intelligent human beings, but sometimes I weep in despair.

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