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Thursday April 4, 2013
A celebration of teen love

I had a sitter today and I went to McDonald’s and had chicken nuggets for lunch. They were delicious, and I thought it was a bit ironic that the one time I can have lunch on my own without children I went to McDonald’s. But they had free wi-fi and I love McNuggets and Big Macs and their delicious little fries.

Alongside the elderly drinking coffee, parents with toddlers in tow, and a few cyclists eating salads, there were a young teenage couple huddled in a booth. Kissing. And kissing. And kissing. And I overheard a couple of people complain about how they were “acting inappropriately.” One person said in a very loud voice “we should get the manager.”

I was surprised by their reactions. I found their affection lovely. I remember that feeling so well – the one of puppy love (which is perhaps true love), in which you just want to be with that other person all the time, and breathe and sleep and talk only about the other person, and what they said to you, and where they may be in that moment that you are not with them, and did you know that he said that you were wonderful and you think he is wonderful, and what do you think he is doing right now?

As a former youth worker, I spent years working on the front lines with youth, engaging them on the issues that are important to them. And in a society where we are obsessed by youth, but seem to care little for young people, I noticed that we often treat young people with a disdain that betrays any notions of acceptance and diversity that we may pride ourselves on.

One of the things that I love most about working with young people is how deeply they feel everything.  It is that feeling that allows us to accomplish great things in our lives – it is why young people are usually the harbingers of revolutionary change, why young people are the most technologically innovative amongst us, and why we look to young people to be trendsetters in fashion and music.

But when that feeling is applied to our everyday lives – may it be with our first loves, or with a skateboard at our feet, young people are seen as a bother.

The next time you are next to a young person who is bothering you with their-too-loud iPod, try to remember that delicious feeling of possibility, of the world at your feet, of LOVING your favorite musician (who totally gets you in a way that nobody ever has ever before), of your deep passion for your best friend who knows all your secrets, and all those other pieces of youth that make it wonderful to observe.

Posted by admin at 1:41 PM | 1 comment
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  1. Posted by: Soni
    Apr. 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Interesting perspective and something to observe.

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Are you interested in engaging youth? Visit my website: www.michelledagnino.com for resources and seminar information on how to connect with youth.

As a social entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant, Michelle works with individuals and organizations across the country and internationally to educate, inspire change and create educational and outreach programs that support the community.

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