The Brain-Dead Teenager Dilemma

Recently, I was teaching a Train the Trainer workshop for my old company and someone told me that the subjects I had selected at random, for people to use in their presentations, could have caused offense to some people. She said that one of the subjects (how the heart works) had reminded her of someone who had recently had been in hospital with heart problems.

It was a genuine comment, no doubt, but it really surprised me because, if you were to think of every possible connotation, you would never be able to select anything for the group to present in advance of the session. What if your uncle had been knocked down by a bus for example; wouldn’t ‘how a bus works’ remind you of that incident?

So I did think twice before posting the above video, but I felt it was such a strong message presented in a novel way that I just wanted to include it here. The message is, of course, about the parent/child divide and, if you are above a certain age, you will probably find it funny. The reasons that we find the video funny however may not be obvious to youngsters.

Sure, like all good humour, there is a nugget of truth in there. But personally, I think there’s more to it than that. We find it funny because we realise that we have passed that stage where we were the rebels, doing the stuff that our parents did not like and did not understand, and we have even begun to hear ourselves saying things that our own parents said to us:

  • That music is just thump, thump, thump
  • In our day, you could at least hear the words
  • You treat this place like a hotel
  • You’re missing the best part of the day

Such is the perennial dialogue of the generation gap. We look in the mirror only to find our parent’s face staring back at us (eventually) and we come to realise that we were not really that much different. It takes time for us to come to that understanding. When we were young, the thought would have been anathema to us.

Counter to what the youngster in the video thinks, and other youngsters she represents, we do understand their position. We know what they think about us because we once thought the same things about our own parents. We might not have used the same language to express our disapproval, but that same disconnect was a feature of our growing up years too. Of course we eventually came to realise that our parents were just like us in more ways that we cared to admit and (thankfully) they did manage to pass their most important values on to us.

In a novel way, that’s what the video attempts to do when it uses dark humour to suggest that their child’s eyes could be put to better use by another person who might use them to actually read books. It’s not serious, so I hope you don’t take offense. But perhaps it is a reminder to us that a part of our role, as a parent, is to communicate the most important things to our kids and to also do it in their language. Perhaps that’s exactly what this video is doing up there on Youtube.

One thought on “The Brain-Dead Teenager Dilemma

  1. andrea johnson

    Hi Will, im sure there are many parents of teens who can relate to this 😉 i have a 15 year old daughter………say no more! lol.

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