THESE THREE THINGS 1666


All of us have been waiting for this day for the past 4 years. Either in hopes of a change or in the hopes that the rest of this country is not as easily offended by outright racism and misogyny. I'm not surprised by the closeness of the current, though incomplete results. This is who we are.

Psychoanalysts talk of the United States having as much common sense as a teenager. If you know teenagers then you know that mindful choices are not the norm. In the greater sense, this model considers where we compare in historical age to other nations and continents in time. In this case, we are mere teens. The United States is young. And we have a lot of learning to do. On the developmental timeline of developed nations, we are mere teens, with underdeveloped brains, poor choices galore, and an inability to see the full picture. We are bad at the grey area. All teens are. It's kind of what they are good at. The election results speak very clearly to this. We are mere babies. And we behave like it. And ever more so with a dead beat, abusive dad at the helm.

Try rationalizing with a teenager. It's exhausting.

It is what it is.

But it's worth the struggle. Teens need boundaries. They need something strong and solid to push up against as they find their way. Individuate. They need the fight. They need to come up against the immovable force that won't budge even though they are relentlessly annoying, choose a really stupid haircut, and get caught sneaking out because they were too stupid to shut off the ""find a friend"" function on their iphone first. Like parents don't know how to do that. Duh.

Truth be told, teens are less than a threat and more hilarious. They are stuck. And the discomfort with this being stuck is well, sort of funny. Especially since teens rail against it. Hard. There is no surrender. No acceptance. They fight the power, fight the current. Make choices that are not in their best interest. Reject the tide. They excel at this behavior so much, their desire to be unpredictable, well, it becomes predictable. And I guess that's where I find the humor. In their attempt to reject what actually serves them best, they actually become sort of mainstream. It is what we expect of teens. And that's funny.

The thing is though, that we sort of need them to be assholes in this way. It's what they do. It serves a purpose. Their carelessness and inability to think for themselves, make good choices, it kind of makes us better. More creative.

Sadly, there is no skipping the line of development. And if this analytic metaphor holds and we are teens, then we don't get to skip this cluster fuck of a mess either. We just have to survive and keep on getting older.

But to do more than just survive, to thrive, we need a better parent. A set of better parents. Who are not distracted or scared off by the poor choices, young ignorance, and concretized thinking. Who hold the line in a loving way, not a fear based and abusive one. Who don't introduce trauma as a winning strategy. These do not a good parent make.

And you know what? For all their faults and struggles, teenagers are actually pretty amazing. They are on the precipice of some real amazing shit. It's an exciting place. It can be an inspiring place. And it's probably the best place to discover what you don't want. And this is important. But the other side of it. The individuation. The sense of self. It takes a whole lot of mistakes to get there. A whole lot of crashing, pushing, shoving.

So here's hoping for some better parenting. Not only from mom and dad, whoever that ends up being, but from all of us.

Be the friend with the shovel.

Let's wait and see.

What did you learn today? Join me by using the #thesethreethings and commenting below with your own These Three Things. I want to hear what you are learning, laughing about, and living through.