Through the WISE TEEN program, I had the pleasure of going into and sharing the program with 3 classes recently at a local high school. My feeling related to teens is that they have so much potential and they are willing to share their perspective on life, but not all are open to hearing it. That isn't a slight against anyone, we each have our own filters, preconceptions and perspectives on our own live and society in general.
Going into the first class I was feeling both excited and nervous. Excited to have the opportunity to connect with our future generation and nervous because I knew that they would be testing my own personal filters and preconceptions.
The one class, grade 10 (15 yrs old) was such that there were 24 boys and 3 girls. Initially my preconceptions told me that this would be a class that wouldn't have alot of interest in hearing anything I had to say, let alone engage in any type of conversation with me. I am ecstatic to be able to share that my preconceptions were WRONG! This class, was focused, engaged and challenging. They were able to speak freely, but respectfully and give their perspective on the particular topic we were speaking about. They challenged me on the alternative perspectives I shared with them and were very open to reconsidering their own preconceptions and perspectives. In one instance, the conversation we were having at the time sparked one students interest so much he actually suggested that I should come to another class of his, suggesting that it would be really helpful. At the end of the class, one student shared with me his perspective on the creation of the universe. It was well thought out, very clear and concise and obviously something he was passionate about and had done alot of research to come up with this theory. I don't know from a school perspective what this boy's marks were like, but he definitely was a very intelligent boy.
The second class I was in was grade 12 (17 yrs old). They were more the strong silent type. They were less engaged then the younger students, but were able to respond in discussion with intelligent well thought out and meaningful comments.
The last class for the day I had the opportunity to share with was a grade 9 (14 yrs old) class. The suggestion was that this class was going to be the biggest challenge. Being focused and engaged wasn't first on the mind of grade 9's, so my preconceptions told me. Again, I'm extremely happy to once again admit that I was WRONG! These students asked questions, they had a deep desire to learn alternative ways to deal with situations. They were fascinated with what was shared both through the program and also from their fellow students. They too challenged me on what I was sharing and continue to question until it made sense to them. Anyone that knows me knows that I love that. I don't want anyone to buy it cause I'm selling it, I want them to feel it resonate deep within them. That is the only way to create lasting change, is to know the truth of it deep within.
For those of you that have a passion, you will know what I mean when I say that this experience gave me a high that no drug ever could. These kids inspired me and I only hope that I could share a bit of inspiration with them as well.
Our teens are our future, and if my experience with them is a predictor of the future, we have a very bright future ahead for us all. Let's all take the time to listen to what the teens have to say and not be quick to discount their wisdom. They have a knowledge filled foundation that we all need to nurture and help them to tap into and embrace their inner wisdom.
Thanks so much to these teens for the inspiration and I hope that we all can reach inside for our own wisdom, beyond our preconceptions and create a ripple effect and Live WISE~