24 April 2008

Full Circle

    Me: Juno. Shut up and listen.
    Me: You're a 17 year old who knows nothing.
    Me: When I explain things to you, try paying attention instead of talking.
    Juno: I won't listen if you're going to be disrespectful towards me.
    Me: you're not going to learn anything then
    Me: if you want to learn things, you have to learn to listen first
    Me: and talk last
    Me: I shut down the conversation because she said "this is not a good time" and you refused to accept it.
    Me: not because I didn't think your question was a worthwhile one.
    Juno: I'm willing to listen and I can read what your saying. I'm also asking that you listen to what I say. And treat me as an equal. I think what your saying makes sense and I made a mistake. You're right about that.

I used to be that arrogant 17-year old.

Much of the problem with arrogant 17 year olds is that, by that point in their exceptionally long lives, they have experienced many different situations once. Therefore, they know everything there is to know about every one of those situations. What's so special about a thirty-four year old, then, who has merely lived twice as long and therefore seen each of those situations twice? What more is there to learn by living through the same situation a second time? Why is their wisdom given so much more weight?

Every situation has multiple sides. Right around 30, I started seeing the opposite sides of all the same situations, found myself on the opposite end of the same arguments. And so I've come to understand that I know nothing about anything. Including how to convey this to arrogant 17-year olds, who don't yet even know what they don't know.

6 comments:

brenda013 said...

As I was reading I thought you were having a conversation with one of your dragons: I wondered if it was a hatchling or one of the bigger ones.
You can't tell seventeen year olds anything; just cheer them on when they are doing great and commiserate when something crashes... That is all that is needed anyway.

MWT said...

I'm not that desperate for content yet... (am I? Hmm. Conversation with my dragons... hmmmmmm.)

This particular 17-year old came into the channel with a discussion topic in mind. Unfortunately, his opening question was phrased in a highly loaded way and guarandamnteed to put people on the defensive and create flame wars -
and furthermore the person he was asking was winding down on her way to bed and not in the right frame of mind for that kind of discussion. When asked to drop the conversation, he wouldn't.

The quoted portion was after she left. I probably could've clue-by-foured him in a more productive way, but by that point I was pretty irritated with him.

Jeri said...

I have discussions a lot like that with my 19 year old. He gives me headaches. His grasp of reality and practicality is very tenuous.

John the Scientist said...

A 34 year old has experienced those situations 3 - 5 times more often than the 17 year old. The time from age 1 - 8 really does not count as "experience", and the time from 8 - 12 or 13 only counts insomuch as the kid had any effective control of a situation and someone else was not primarily handling the issues. So we are talking the difference between 4 - 5 years of "experience" and 22 years. The difference is even greater if the kid has been shelterd in the late teen years.

Not to mention the 34 year old has a much greater likelihood of having experienced things that happen only once or twice a lifetime (death of a parent, etc.).

I disagree with Brenda. Adults do need to let youngsters know when they are being asses in adult situations, or their first working years in their 20s are going to be very painful. Not to mention respect for elders who deserve it is a good habit to cultivate at any age.

Tom said...

I just grew up Dawn Jewel! Quick, go get another egg.

And, by the way, I got another egg, too. A dark one with a green glow. I'm not sure I know what's going on with that one.

Anne C. said...

I believe Brenda was talking about interaction with seventeen year olds. If they haven't learned respect for elders or how not to be an ass by then, it will take the painful twenty something experiences to penetrate that thick skull, not an authority figure they've already learned to ignore.

I learned how to appease authority when I was about 13. I learned how to get along with others when I was 28.