By Ilana Mermelstein
Teenagers are lazy. Teenagers only care about themselves. They don’t pay attention to the world around them. They aren’t motivated or passionate. Teens spend all their time on their phones; they neglect their live relationships. Common misconceptions.
Just like adults, teenagers aren’t all the same. Sure, some of us spend a large chunk of time on our phones, and many of us procrastinate. But many of us are on our phones nurturing our relationships. Or maybe we’re educating ourselves about current issues. Maybe we’re researching colleges, checking our grades. We do more than just sit around, caring about only ourselves. We have passions, dreams, and goals we want to pursue; our age doesn’t affect our ability to care.
What Do Teens Care About?
So what do teens care about? Well, here are some things about which I, a fifteen-year-old, am passionate:
Politics. I don’t know everything, but I research what I can. I am passionate about net neutrality, about DACA, about who my representatives are. My beliefs lead me to contact my congressmen and congresswoman when there’s something I want to change. To be honest, I think I do more than what a lot of adults are doing. I form my own opinions based on what I hear from my family, what I hear on the news, what I hear from my friends, and what I read online. I find it important to educate myself on current events, the world around me.
Writing. I write blog posts every week about anything I’m thinking about at the time. Additionally, I find opportunities to write for outside websites, magazines, and newspapers whenever I can. Because I believe that the only way to improve is to practice, I practice in every way possible. I always keep a thesaurus tab open to expand my vocabulary. Microsoft Word is too often pulled up on my laptop. I write things I’ll never publish, I write things I delete directly after writing them, I write because it’s what I love to do.
My religion. I’m an active member of my synagogue’s youth group, and I even hold a position on the board. I learn about Jewish issues, I ask questions, I teach others. I’ve continued my Jewish education for longer than most because I care about my own Judaism, and I care about being a part of my Jewish community.
My education. I am passionate about always learning more. I’m passionate about my friends and family. I’m passionate about doing the right thing as often as I can.
Believe it or not, teenagers care. We may be young and naïve. We may not have all the experiences adults have. But we pay attention. And we care.
Ilana Mermelstein is a sophomore from Alpharetta, Georgia. She blogs at youngandthoughtful.weebly.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys petting dogs and playing her ukulele.