|JANUARY 8, 2011 --
Today's society sends a lot of mixed messages to our young people. One that really confuses many is when does childhood end?
I don't believe that one day you are a child and the next you are an adult, even though legally that may be true. It seems to me that being a teenager is a time to transition from childhood into adulthood.
My teens were a time when my parents gave me steadily more responsibility and expected me to stand on my own. Picking berries, and other summer jobs gave way to a "real" job when I got my drivers license. By the time I was eighteen I considered myself independent although I did follow my parents rules at home.
I like the way the Grange treats teenagers. At age 14, we treat them as adults. If they are willing to accept responsibility, we give them authority. When they make mistakes, we help them learn and grow from them. Each individual grows and moves forward at their own speed and age doesn't matter. I know a number of young people who some might call children, but I call adults due to their maturity and actions.
As I observe people and listen to the reports of the media, I think that is is time to remember that if we treat teenagers as children, that is what most of them will act like. When we expect them to act like young adults, they will usually exceed our expectations.
Let's brag a bit and show society that treating teenagers like young adults benefits both them and us.