Critical Thinking

Lazy Afternoon Reruns: “Before their Eyes Adjust to the Light”

Working with teenagers, I regularly get to hear expressions of ideas that I too once held: adults want to ruin all fun because they are dead inside; learning is pointless when the subject matter has no direct connection to one’s life; and life will always be like it is right now. These sad and unenviable presumptions, which have come to define the teenager á la Holden Caulfield, arise from a simple lack of life experience and from their disappointing interactions with adult authority figures.(Recall the darkly transparent lyrics to Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen.”) Looking up at the world from their distinctly un-powerful position, life must really seem that way.

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