January 2002
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What Do You Mean, 15 Miles?
By: Alvin Cadonic, Grade 11,
Tec-Voc High School, Winnipeg, MB

All teens have heard that very annoying phrase from parents; "When I was your age I had to walk fifteen miles to school! Uphill! Both ways!" This is followed by a lecture. I hear my parents always talking about when they were kids. How it was so difficult and how teenagers these days are all slackers. Personally, I don't think a lot of adults know the half of how hard it is to be a teen these days.

Sure, most teens live in cities or towns, don't have to work on a farm or have to "walk fifteen miles to school" but we don't have it easy either! We teens have to deal with peer pressure, dating (if we're lucky), family and school, not to mention the fact that nearly every adult treats you like you're five years old. Many shoot first and ask questions later. They say that the life we teens have today is a lot better than the one they had when they were our age. If you ask me our lives are comparable.

It's true that we sometimes cause our own problems. Some of us are troublemakers, but isn't that one way to learn? From trial and error? That's how I've learned a lot of the stuff I know. I know when it concerns drugs and alcohol, sometimes that it may be the wrong way to go, but adults need to let us make the decision not to do these things. They need to trust us to make the right decision, and if we don't, then they should punish us for betraying their trust.

Peer pressure and hanging out with the wrong crowd is not always the reason for teens making wrong decisions. It's also because of adults. Some adults think yelling and hitting is going to solve the problem. Some teens learn from their parents about drinking and drugs because they themselves are taking drugs or are alcoholics. Other teens have parents who use drugs and beer to "escape" reality and in turn the teen turns to drugs and beer because they think it's okay. Other teens don't have a great home life because their parents abuse them, verbally or otherwise and turn to the substances to escape, run away or both. And some do it because they simply haven't been taught by their parents that it's wrong.

The thing to remember is that teens make mistakes, but so do adults. We learn from our elders, and in the end, it's like one of those annoying chain letters, only in this case, sending the damn thing brings bad luck!