What’s on the minds of young people?

In less than a day back to working with young people, doing odd-jobs tutoring. What I think I have to keep in mind this time around:

  1. Nearly everything on their minds is about relationships. This isn’t just because of the world MTV has created, where shows like “I Just Want My Pants Back” are probably being watched religiously by 9 year olds. It’s partly because of what entertainment explicitly for kids is: “Why does a 6-year old need to know so much about dating and breaking up?” Also: those who are more religious are not immune from this. Not even close. I’ve actually never seen so much pressure to “find someone” as I have in fundamentalist circles.
  2. Nostalgia. I don’t even. It makes no sense to me we’ve got a bunch of oversexed young people who think they know exactly how relationships work. In many cases, they have more experience in a number of human interactions than people twice or three times their age. To the degree they’re right about such matters, it’s frightening. It makes even less sense that these same young people don’t even try reading Kant or Proust. They want “My Little Pony” and “Adventure Time” (the latter is, to be sure, an excellent show). Actually, now that I state the problem, it does make sense. If you feel you know something well beyond your years, you feel justified about your tastes and choices in a number of other areas. The reversion to childishness is because of growing up too quickly. There’s little or no sense of what is appropriate when.
  3. “You don’t know me.” You can imagine how annoying it is to hear this when dealing with texts whose primary theme is self-knowledge, which no one bothers with nowadays. Our big assumption: experience is irreducibly private; we’re all unique; no one can be in the position another was. So, um, how come there are still bandwagon tendencies that can be exploited? How come marketing of any sort is effective? Why are there code words – i.e. “free speech” – which instinctively trigger emotions in nearly anyone? You’d think the thesis that true independence is something achieved would appeal to young people. Instead we have a whole world which thinks “freedom” is equivocal to “leave me alone.” Then we wonder why no one respects another’s right, let alone strives for justice.


  1. I was nostalgic for a moment while I was reading this post. I remembered my teen years and I realized that I was a bit stupid back then but it made me smiled wider. Because of those experiences I was able to learn and enjoy my teenage years.

    Thanks for helping me reminisce the past.

    Johny Sy

  2. ”[…] The reversion to childishness is because of growing up too quickly. There’s little or no sense of what is appropriate when.”

    I’d say it has more to do with an extension of ‘childhood’ (for the lack of a better term). Most people, at least in my own view, retain their ‘immaturity’ (I don’t necessarily consider it such, but it encapsulates the point well with what I believe your slant to be) for much longer. Well into their 20’s, even.

    It’s a more liberal, and immature society. People are growing up much more slowly.

    As for relationships, I agree completely. Every other show on kids networks nowadays is ‘X broke up with Y and Y is secretly in love with G but G is GAY and then a fight ensues’.

    Now my relationship problems seem petty.

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