Teenagers today are an interesting breed. But are they any different to years, decades, or even centuries ago? Ancient Greek philosophers, Plato and Socrates, were once thought to have said about the youth of their day:
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
After teaching teenagers for the past eighteen years, I can quite confidently say that adolescents have changed very little since 400 BC.
Their ‘love of luxury’ can be noted from their collection of the latest technological gadgets to expectations of air conditioned classrooms and mum-and-dad taxi services. ‘Bad manners’ are still witnessed in and out of the classroom, and that ‘C’ grade for behaviour and effort often seen on their school report typically indicates ‘a love of chatter in place of exercise’. And for those who display ‘contempt of authority’, ‘disrespect for elders’, and ‘tyrannize their teachers’ – well, let’s just say educational databases have become testament to these actions. And trust me, I have attended quite a few parent-and-child meetings where said student has argued with or ‘contradicted their parents’, rolling their eyes, ‘crossing their legs’ and arms, and huffing when being caught out for some wrong-doing. And as for children unfortunately no longer being the ‘servants of their households’, when was the last time you heard your teenage son or daughter offer to do all the housework? In your dreams, most like.
Since ancient times, very little has changed when it comes to teenage behaviour and personality. But as Emma Watson, actress of Hermoine Granger in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, once said, “It’s cheesy to say this, but it’s the journey, not the end goal, that’s important.” So whilst some teenagers can be rude, selfish, and just plain tyrants at times, we have to remember it’s just one phase of their journey. Many of them do end up being kind, caring and thoughtful adults - adults, who one day, will have teenagers of their own.