It has just come out in the science/health news these past weeks that teenagers/adolescents are determined to be from 10-24 instead of 10-19.
In the past few weeks, science and health news has reported that the teen/adolescent years – once thought to be from age 10 to 19 – are now considered from 10 to 24.This news is deeply confirming for me, as I have long felt and intuited that we are still developing our cognitive and emotional maturity in our early 20s. Personally, I would put the age up even further, to 27 or 28. Recent neurobiology research has pointed to the fact that our ability to perceive and understand consequences (the domain of the prefrontal cortex of our brain) is not fully developed in our teenage years and can clearly lead to behaviours that are not helpful – as many parents I am sure can agree!
If we consider this as a fact then, it is clear that we do need to give our teenagers and young adults continued support and encouragement to develop in healthy ways. This is not the sole responsibility of parents. This is a whole society responsibility. We all co-create the environment we live in. To abdicate this and say it is his/her fault is not, in my opinion, a healthy way for any of us to co-evolve our community. Our younger generation will be our future leaders – this is not a hypothesis, this is reality. Do we wish to have our future leaders disempowered, believing they are not relevant and feeling antipathy towards older generations? That is not a world in which I wish to live.
How might we do things differently? I think there are many ways we can each contribute. For our own children, we can become participants in their life, working with them and realising that experiences they may be having are growth and consciousness experiences. Teaching our children to meditate and to reflect and have contemplative practices equips them with the tools for their own evolution. We need to have the conversations that matter with them – not just rules and what you “have to” do or not do! We need to give space for the outbursts of energy and help them to have these experiences in safe ways that enable healthy reflection.
Our minds are biologically programmed to look for the negative and recognise danger. Our media and modern day conditioning magnify this adverse perspective. Furthermore, if our children do not have healthy models of behaviour and are repeatedly fed a negative narrative, if we do not give them good reasons and examples, why would they look beyond the prevailing drama and unhealthy choices?
If we encourage our children also to look for and recognise the whole of reality, then they may better equipped to see the world as it really is. This will enable them to be balanced in their decision making, to be creative, compassionate, and inspired as they look forward into their future.
When we open to the fact that there is more potential, more information and guidance available to us than we are consciously aware of – whether through meditation, prayer, inspiration – then we are accessing clarity that supports our own and others’ lives. How marvelous it could be if our children – our younger generations – engage and utilize their gifts of clarity, compassion and insight in ways that evolve them.
The talk posted below is inspiring: two men, a father and a grandfather who evolved through tragedy, embraced forgiveness, and now pass on healthy messages of non-violence and compassion – real tools that create open life options for teenagers and young adults. We all contribute to children’s upbringing. It does indeed require a community raise healthy adults. If we wish for a safe and happier community then let us all help raise the next generations! This is a deeply moving and heart touching story, and an empowering initiativehttps://www.ted.com/talks/azim_khamisa_and_ples_felix_what_comes_after_tragedy_forgiveness
Tariq Khamisa Foundation: The mission of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation is to create safer schools and communities through educating and inspiring children in the restorative principles of accountability, compassion, forgiveness, and peacemakinghttps://tkf.org/
If at defining moments in our lives we can make the right choices we literally manifest miracles in ourselves and in others.