There is not much to do today. Just like there was little to do today, there was also very little to do yesterday, last week, last month, and invariably every single day since an unimaginable pandemic made its way across the planet right into the laps, and lungs, of America.
Our teenager’s schools, social outings, sports, parties, clubs-just about everything in their lives, has been tossed around like wet sneakers on tumble dry. That is now nine months of societal calamity, illogical schooling, athletic and other group options, and a whole host of other deeply frustrating situations we’ve asked our teens-the same humans who own a brain that is only “half cooked,” to process and live with.
Our teens are showing their resilience during the pandemic
Some days the madness of 2020 has made me question if I can keep “going on like this,” and yet our teens are marching right along beside us, likely asking themselves the same questions. While the thought of millions of them mentally struggling this year brings me a great deal of sadness, I can see the positive consequences we may yet reap from 2020.
What those consequences are is the fact that our teenagers are still standing, and not only are they standing, many are standing extra TALL, costumed with a sense of newfound resiliency that an ordinary year of adolescence could have never provided them.
But a worldwide pandemic? Well, they received an education this year in steadfastness that is unparalleled in any former generation.
For those who missed monumental rites of passage-senior proms, sports championships, and all the lasts teens normally get to experience, not to mention high school and college graduation ceremonies, the disappointment is real, raw, and unnerving. These kids have experienced a lack of closure, but somewhere underneath the sadness of all they have lost are the lessons of life and suffering that will serve them well in their future.
Reports about the delayed maturation of today’s teens
Much has been said concerning delayed maturation and the lack of resilience today’s young people have. Some colleges and universities around the country even implemented required resilience training, and/or programs for incoming freshman that teach emotional maturity.
These types of classes and “adulting” orientations are meant to boost our young people’s confidence in their own ability to get back up emotionally after disappointments both big and small have knocked them down. And to teach them that when regular daily life punches you in the face you have the ability to punch back.
It’s a year of losses, but also of gains
I can think of no other year in my lifetime that has better taught those exact skills to my teens than 2020. It may have been a year of lost memories, but it’s also been a year of gained maturities that are immeasurable.
As we round the corner to 2021 to a possible vaccine that may bring life back to normal at some point next year, to say I’m proud of the teens that are still standing tall in the midst of this year’s chaos is an understatement.
To the ones still doing high school and college 100% from home with little to no social interaction, I applaud your dedication to your education.
To the ones who needed to take a break from higher ed to find work to supplement a family’s lost income, your selflessness is beyond admirable.
To the ones who are still unable to do those things that bring them the most joy- things like sports, drama, band, volunteerism, and all the clubs and events that remain canceled, but have found morsels of joy from the small and insignificant, you’ve learned an invaluable lesson that will serve you well in adulthood, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
To the teenagers who at times were there to lift up the spirits of their parents, and not the other way around, I salute your maturity and steadfastness in times of great uncertainty for the people who feel the most responsible for your success.
And finally, the all the parents that raised these amazing humans who are still smiling at the end of the most unforgettable of their teen years, please rise and give yourself a standing ovation. Job well done.
Moms and dads, find comfort in the fact that this year your kids will have learned the skills to embrace an often cruel world with a renewed sense of worthiness, confidence, faith, and above all, hope.
Now bring on 2021.