Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Testing Teens

Despite all our psychologies and sociologies, we know a lot less about young people than tribal societies, specifically the teen need to test themselves with pain. This need can be seen in benign forms such as piercings, tattoos, punishing athletic and dance practices, all-night activities, or simply standing out in the rain with no coat or umbrellas (Irish teen rite). Then there are the sinister ways – drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, fighting, dangerous driving and the like. In the native American ritual of the Sun Dance, young men willingly suffer terrible ordeals which are witnessed by their community while medicine men and women stand by to heal them. How many teenagers do we lose every year because we are not there when they test themselves?

4 comments:

Sabrina said...

Interesting fact from my adolescent psych class: In both Canada and the US the number one cause of teen death is car accidents. In Canada the number two is suicide, while in the US the number two is homicide.

OR Melling said...

That is heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

As a teen myself I know first hand of what so many teens are willing to put themselves through. I watch as friends destroy themselves without knowing it, and it's heart-breaking for me to know that I can't do a thing about it but be there for them when they fall.

OR Melling said...

But, dear heart, you must make sure to look after yourself also. It can be as hard for the one who sees as the one who suffers. (And apologies for taking so long to respond to your comment. I forget to check the comment boxes at times.)