Chelsea Wilson, 2013

J. Graham Brown

What is a teenager? Of course, the question seems almost embarrassingly elementary at first. One could easily flip through any given dictionary and find the entry, saying, "Here: here's what a teenager is. It's not really complicated." But it's more than that, isn't it? It's more than just "a person between the ages of 13 and 19 years;" it's someone who's caught between being a child and an adult.

We are familiarized with the stereotypical teenager: the lazy, unappreciative one that gripes about responsibility, procrastinates, and still wants to be treated like a child. We are so quick to forget that we are asking a person to apply for colleges and understand student loans because "your future depends on it" and at the same time we are asking that person to go to bed before midnight ("finish your homework, though") and refrain from having too many opinions ("Teenagers think they know everything!"). We are asking these people to "grow up, take some initiative" and keeping them cooped up, disabling them from really experiencing the world. So we have to ask the world: "What's your ideal teenager?" and then? We have to be that. That's a challenge.

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