On one hand, it is amazing how well spoken all of these teens are (and kudos to the Parkland teens for using their visibility and privilege to help make space for other voices – Brown and Black voices that were just as articulate, educated, informed, and passionate).

On the other hand, is it really that hard to break down stupid arguments made by ignorant and self-interested adults? Stupid things like “racism isn’t real” or “all YOU need to do is work hard” or “we don’t need gun reform.” The arguments against these lies are pretty straightforward and convincing actually.

Luckily, the adolescent brain is designed to think differently, more creatively, less rigidly. It is one of the goals of adolesence to “call BS” on things adults have told them, and to independently verify what is truthful. It is also normal for adolescents to want to solve problems collaboratively. It is normal for adolescents to use their emotions as part of their intelligence, communication, and motivation.

shutterstock_1028690512

All these healthy and deliberate changes of the adolescent brain are so that they enter into adulthood with a true sense of the world they are inheriting, to be better equipped to handle the responsibilities of that era of life, and to come into adulthood with support and allies. And they do this with a baseline belief that they can do it better than the previous generation.

In other words, the teens of today are perfectly situated, motivated, and equipped to deal with the fake news and the tribalism that currently hinders real world progress. I was glad to be able to see that Saturday and am looking forward to the better world they will create.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Written by Joseph Lee, M.D.

I'm a Psychiatrist in private practice in Redondo Beach, CA. I completed both medical school and residency training at UCLA. My practice is psychotherapy based with a health-oriented focus on personal growth and wellbeing. I also teach about mental healthiness and advocate for social emotional learning (SEL) in all contexts.

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