ave adolescens, morituri te salutamus!

The adolescents require so, SOOO much external structure in their lives. At another level, they also resist that, rightly so. So, these seemingly contradictory pulls make dealing with them, that much more challenging and endlessly tiring.

As a wag said, an adolescent is a teenager who acts like a baby when you don’t treat him (or her)  like an adult. Truly.

Lately I have been going thru’ the books and ‘learned’ journal articles on the psychology of adolescents from various perspectives and am flummoxed, to say the least. One thing that I have realized is that no linear textbook approaches work; and whenever I practise whatever I am preaching them, it works. Whether it is sports or gardening or hardwork or laboured humour, whatever… Another fact is that whenever I link whatever that I am trying to explain – to real life scenarios and things that they can readily observe and internalize – that concept mostly sticks in their brain. It may need to be polished now and then, but it is there. Gratifyingly so.

I am reminded of an anecdote: Once there was a teacher who had to go to a hospital and at the reception-counter had to  fill-up some form giving the details of her life and health. There was a question in that form: Have you ever been exposed to toxic substances in your life? Does the place of your work, makes you deal with toxic substances as a matter of routine? Could you name them? The teacher thought for a while and wrote: Yes. I deal with the adolescent hormones all the time.

But it is fun to be with them, if one has the patience and can doggedly pursue the objectives and has loads of sense of humour, and sometimes, er, silliness; also, the amount of trust that they repose in you, if you capture their imagination in one way or the other, is like gestalt. At one level, one feels really honoured to be with them.

To cite an example, I routinely ask the erdkinder to take their practice tests at home and am 100% sure (gratifyingly so) that they do make a genuine attempt at it, in spite of nobody really ‘monitoring’ them at home and they never fake knowledge or expertise. I think this is what happens, when a child is self driven and pursues something because he/she wants to pursue it and NOT because someone says so – and in no small measure, I think, this incredible attitude is blameable on the good Montessori mode of tutulage that happens in NammaShaale.

When the erdkinder actually started taking their ‘rigorous’ tests and stuff at school – a few months back, I was amused because, they kept helping each other during the exams! Not in a clandestine manner, but openly – because they could not think of NOT sharing what they know and wanted to genuinely help their fellow mates! After much discussion, now they have come to a point where they can take their tests silently. All of them, do well in their tests, well, most of the time…

I am also proud (as do the other adults who deal with them on a routine basis, but silent unlike yours truly) of the erdkinder, but we want, coax and cajole them to stretch their physical selves, their imagination, their capabilities, their life…

Adolescents – quem di diligent, what else…

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  • Reshma  On July 6, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Thanks Ramjee.
    “But it is fun to be with them, …… one feels really honoured to be with them.”

    ditto 🙂

    As adults we ave keep searching for the bridge they seem to be precariously crossing. Their sentiments are genuine although sometimes you have to peel layers of sentiments (or masks) to find their world of wonder! There is a wonderful book for parents called “Queen Bees and Wanna Bees” and oh! another one (forget the name) by Micheal Thompson and Edward Hallowell. These were like true testaments to adolescent behaviours at least for my “knock on the head” experiences with this age group!

    Wondering how much time, Namma Shaale Erdkinders spend reading a common book (as in a book club) with an adult? Some of the Young Adult Fiction books are just a great resource of them and for our journeys into ther spirits!

  • wordrunk  On July 11, 2009 at 12:51 am

    There’s this awful fine line we are always treading between not ‘pushing’ too much and yet ‘pushing’ a bit! Especially with things like reading. I find that if I never talk about reading or ‘the book’, it will mostly never get picked up during the general excitement of ‘living life to the fullest’ (read giggles with friends and going out and éntertainment). On the other hand, a few prods does do the trick and doesn’t seem resented as I sometimes fear it might be…

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