No direction…

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to talk with one of my customers about -something- that she and I both agreed on. Simply put, the conversation was about teenagers not having any direction in their lives. The conversation was sparked after her son walked out of the store before our transaction was finished. When they walked up to my cash, the first thing her son did was walk over to the opposite counter and put his arms up and his head down in exhaustion, then followed by asking for the keys and then stepping outside. As he stepped out his mother looked at me in confidence and said  “What am I going to do” with a laugh at the end of her statement.

I would like to make it clear that it is no ones position to judge someone simply because they were tired one morning, that is clear. Human beings get tired, there is nothing wrong with being tired, especially teenagers because they are in a moment of their lives where they are growing and trying their best to experience their lives to the fullest. But the mother seemed to be have a concern for her son otherwise she would not have said what she did.

I replied to her statement with curiosity, because it was not long ago that I was his age, and it is quite possible that I might be able to offer some guidance in the matter. Having no other customers in line I had the opportunity to quickly see what might be bothering her. Some people might wonder why I would be ‘interfering’ with someones personal matters, but I would not say it was interfering at all, but rather that it was a helpful, and kind gesture. She seemed to have been lost in the matter, and I feel that any guidance I could offer her was the correct thing to do.

Never the less, she explained to me that her son, being in high school at the moment, is having a tough time “finding his way” as she put it. She continued to explain to me that she feels teenagers lack motivation and direction. I agreed completely.

We should ask ourselves; Why do (some) teenagers lack, motivation and direction?

To address the first question will be quite difficult without any study of the subject. Everyone is different, and someones motivation in life, or lack of, is completely subjective, but I find that there still lies a common factor that sways people from finding their own motivation. As you should have noticed, own, in the previous sentence was italicized, and this is because people, teenagers, adults, and anyone in between inclusively, cannot be expected to follow the same motivation that someone else has. Rather, someone needs to, or should try to, find something in their lives that they want to live for and strive to achieve. No one can come to you and tell you; “You should feel motivated because of X”, this is because whatever X is, very well might be something that motivates them. So we can see that motivation is subjective.

Although it might be a generalization, and considering I have not completed a survey, it seems to me that a strong factor for teenagers, or even people in general, to be lacking motivation in their lives, is because most people expect to have a set destination in their journey through life. Most of us, hopefully, would know that it simply does not work this way. Life is not easy, and it is not determined for us, there are no set paths. The paths that we choose to take is what defines us as people. Our choices and decisions to experience certain things is the freedom that is there for us to take, and it is not something given to us. With this in mind, we can see how some people might loose direction. If you have ever thought about where you life is going, I am quite certain that at some point or another, in your thinking you have seen the emptiness that is your future. I say emptiness in the lightest  sense possible, because it is not that life is empty, but rather life is there in front of you, ready and waiting to be filled up with experiences and meaning. Some pessimists would argue that life’s journey is filled with sorrow, and despair, but I argue it is quite the opposite. Life is empty if you so will it to be empty. If you take your will and turn it around from that dark view of life, you will see that the possibilities are endless, and that you have complete control over how your life plays out.

Now, back to the young man standing before his own life, without direction.

Quickly, I would like to make it clear that I do not mean to judge him as a person, because he very well might be full of motivation and direction, but the conversation with his mother made me want to address these issues that, some, and not all, people share.

As we have seen, life is an open book waiting to be written in. Why then does the young man not see this? Why does he not take hold of it and create his future for himself? I blame conditioning. By conditioning I mean the way in which young people are brought up to think about themselves and the world around them. As we saw in my last post, Abby’s life was set up before her, her whole life was -almost- determined for her, through her parents eyes. We are raised a certain way by our parents, and this is not to say that they are doing a bad job, because that is not true, they are simply doing what they think is best for us. The problem I have with this is that, the only person who should know what is best for them is themselves. It might be hard to probe a five year old and ask them; “Abby, what do you want to do the rest of your life? Do you want to go to Spring garden Elementary School, or Westpark, or Beachwood?”, but this is where the conditioning begins. Kids are sent off to schools that follow a specific curriculum and it seems that the curriculum is the same for each one of us, as if to say that we are all the same, and that we should all learn the same things to keep this formality. When does subjectivity and free will come into this? At such a young age, it simply does not.

Consider, although they are not mammals, sea turtles abandon their young before the eggs even hatch. It is up to the young turtles to make it back to the ocean and survive. Mammals on the other hand nurture their young until they are fit to survive on their own. It is in our nature, to nurture our young, and that is not the problem. But it seems that in the ‘sophisticated’ and ‘advanced’ society that we live in, we feel the need to ensure that our young follow the same, or close to, paths that the parents did. This is the conditioning process.

I believe I have touched on this topic enough for today, as in writing it, it is taking me places, and to topics where I have not yet thought about.

Comments, and Criticisms are welcome! -The above was not proofread.

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~ by Peter on November 17, 2009.

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