See "A Note To Teachers," on lesson plan aphg8-4.htm
Be patient. This presentation is going someplace quite significant! The historic part of this talk is accurate, except for one fact that I will explain later.
A Historical Perspective is Needed
I want to take you on a journey back in time several hundred years. Imagine it is the year 1700, but you are all still the same physical persons you are today.
There are few schools in the world. Luckily, there is a school in your town, and you have been attending it. For the last 7 months you have been on vacation from school while you helped your family plant, tend, and harvest crops. You return to school. The teacher seems a bit irritated with you, as he says . . .
"WHAT are you doing here?
"You know everything you need to know!
"There is nothing more for me to teach you! You can read, write, and do simple arithmetic.
"You men know how to cut down trees and how to make them into fences and buildings. You know how to harness an ox or a horse to wagons and plows. You can plow a field, sow crops, tend them, harvest them, and take them to market. That is what you did all this last summer!
"You women, you know how to spin thread and make cloth, sew, make soap, wash clothes and mend them, cook, and take care of many kinds of farm animals. You can milk cows and goats and churn butter. You know how to skin an animal, soften its hide by rubbing the animals brains into it, and how to make it into clothing and other useful things. You know how to take care of babies - you have been doing it for years so that your mothers and aunts could work on the farm.
"You young men: have you received a parcel of land from your family so you can start a farm? Have you started to build your farmhouse and barns? I know you can't do it alone, but you have family and community members to help you. Why haven't you started yet?
"I know that some of you will not be farmers. Have you signed on as an apprentice to a carpenter, a wagon maker, a copper smith, or some other trade? Have you moved into his shop yet? Don't expect your family or this town to support you! You have to start contributing!
"You young women, have you married and started your families yet? How many of you have delivered your first child? Do you know that it might take several pregnancies before you have a successful birth? How many of you have been pregnant, but lost your child before it was born? How many have delivered your baby only to have it die in the first year of life? I hope you all realize that you will probably have to become pregnant 4 time in order to have one baby survive to adulthood! That means you have to be pregnant 8 times just to replace yourself and your husband!
"Come on ladies and gentlemen, it is time to start your adult lives! You women, half of you will die before you are 35 years old! You will usually die in childbirth. You men, many of you will be worn out or dead before the age of 40!
"If you don't start your lives now, you will likely run out of time to become really contributing members of this town. You won't be able to raise enough children to adulthood to replace yourselves! You men will not become fully productive and efficient on your farms or in your trade for maybe 5 years. Our town is counting on you! If everybody tried to stay in school, and didn't want to become productive, this town would slowly die out!"
We come back to the present. Other than technology, what has changed?
First, in 1700 people matured slower. To have your physical maturity in 1700 you would likely be about 17 rather than 13. (That is the error I told you about.) We mature faster now. That is due to several things. Much less stress, better health care, and better nutrition. Typically girls have more body fat now. It is hormones produced in your body fat that causes your bodies to become women's bodies. Today, some girls could become mothers as young as 9 years old, often by the age of 12 or 13, not 17. My first wife was born in 1941. Her mother was 14 years old at the time!
Second, because we have progressed so very far in technology and knowledge, we have to stay in school very much longer. You will be 18 when you graduate from High School. There are another 4 to 12 years for advanced education.
The Cause of the Parent - Teen Conflict
When a person reaches his or her physical maturity (like you), there is also a change in your mental state. In 1700, by age 17 you would have been sexually mature and ready to start a family. You would know everything you needed to know. You would have been ready to leave your family, go out on your own, and become independent. To cause that to happen there is an automatic emotional drive within us that acts to separate us from our parents. A drive to make decisions for one's self. A drive to be independent. There definitely is a drive to become sexually active.
In this present time, we mature much earlier. These physical and mental changes now happen at about 13 years of age. But now, we also must be dependent upon our parents much longer! There is no longer a match between our demand for independence, and our ability to actually be independent!
The world has changed too. It is a much more complex world now. There are many more subtle and dangerous aspects. We "parent types" have a long-range perspective that is impossible for you to have, simply because we have lived longer! Hopefully, we have gained insight and wisdom.
Today teens and their parents have a problem that did not exist in 1700! Your teen-age bodies and minds are screaming "I am ready to be independent! I want to make my own decisions! I want to be my own boss!" Your parents and society are screaming back at you, "You are not ready to be independent yet! You have not learned what you need to know yet! You cannot support yourself! You do not yet fully understand the dangers in this world!" . . . . And they are right!
So we struggle with this unnatural situation. Our education now lags way behind our bodies and our mental state. It now takes 5 to 9 years, or more, before the gap is closed, and you can truly become independent!
So we have conflicts between generations. Its going to take a very long time before the human race learns to make adjustments to this mismatch. It may never happen. The blunt truth is that you and your parents are stuck with it.
Sometimes an understanding of a problem and its cause can help. That is why I have made this effort to tell you about this mismatch. If you and your parents can understand its origin, then maybe:
You can start this process yourself! Have your parents read this essay. Talk with each other about it! Talk with each other about keeping the peace. PLEASE!
God bless you and your parents! May you learn to live together in peace during your teenage years.
- Presented with my love for you
- Mr. Andrews
- Computer Literacy Teacher