The other day I had the opportunity and privilege to work with an amazing group of teenagers. Teenagers from varying backgrounds, experiences, genders, desires, beliefs and life goals. When I met them, they had no idea who I was, what I was doing in "their space" and what I would say or require of them. They were not only polite and welcoming, but they were ENGAGING, asking questions and sharing what I consider to be fairly personal and private information.
I went to the Center to teach them, but instead I received an education. That is one of the many reasons I enjoy my work with teenagers and adolescents. I ALWAYS learn from them. I learn something about their resiliency, I learn something about their "realness" and willingness to be brutally honest. I learn something about how the future of our society thinks about the world around them. I learn something about the determination and perseverence of a group of young people who haven't had all of "life's advantages". I learn something about myself.
What is the lesson here? The lesson is not to judge a person, group of people, place or situation until you have had the opportunity for personal experience. It was not a dull time at the Center. Contrary to what many uninformed people think of teenagers, they were not rude, arrogant, inattentive, reckless or unapologetic. I very much look forward to my time with this group of teens again.