September 2001
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Teens Ask Adults to Give Them More Freedom
By: Aynsley Wright,Toronto, Ontario

Being a teenager in high school these days sure isn't as easy as it sounds. I can tell you that from experience.

There are always the hassles about which university or college to go to, what sort of people to be friends with and the types of grades being achieved. With problems and questions like these, I find myself with little time to do what really matters to me right now -- have fun.

Not to say that I don't care about school; of course I care! It's just that I feel teachers and parents place additional and unnecessary stress on kids. They don't need the extra pressure and strain. I don't mean that parents and teachers should back off completely to let their children, their future, run wild and do whatever they please. Stress has its ups; it can motivate and provide support, but it can also backfire leaving a child a very hurt victim.

So, how do parents give us teens our freedom? Well, there are many ways; giving us small responsibilities for example can do wonders. I hate emptying the dishwasher, doing my laundry and walking the dog as much as the next kid but sometimes it allows my parents to ease up and to see that I can and am even at times willing, to help out.

Now, this doesn't grant a teen freedom by any means. But perhaps after doing these small jobs, which at times can bring on massive screaming and hysterical fights followed by tears and slamming doors (I write from painful experience), a reward would be nice. I'm thinking something in the range of... money? That is not to say that all odd jobs should be the result of a bribe but I think that teens are very willing to work if they know that they are really getting something good out of it. That something doesn't necessarily have to be money; it may just be the peace of mind knowing that you have done something that has lifted somebody's spirits.

Then comes the responsibility of having money. I know that in my house, I get "X" amount of money each month and that has to allow for bus tickets, food, clothes everything, and I mean everything.

So, when the cash runs out, the mind has got to get thinking. This Christmas, it was time for my brain to go into overdrive and to get a source of income and fast leaving me with only one option...gulp...a job.

So I approach my parents with the prospect and they jump at it. Of course they think that it is a great idea. It will provide me with the great work ethic that I need to move onto bigger and better things in my life. So I bring up a couple of connections I have at some retail places like Jacob, GAP, Sporting Life, the usual high school/university student jobs. Well, I can tell you that they, shall I put it this way, were not impressed.

You see, I have taken all of my swimming and life guarding levels so, of course, they decide that it's about time I made good use of these valuable, not to mention expensive years of lengths, C.P.R.,rescue breathing, dives, water searches etc. So the resume was updated, the swimming awards were photocopied, addresses were collected and before I knew it, I was getting phone calls and interviews were being lined up.

After all of this organization, scheduling and meeting, I got hired at the Granite Club as a swimming instructor teaching levels 1 to Lifesaving III. Now I have this great, amazing, I-can't-believe-I-actually-got-my-act-together attitude and, what do you know, I feel the freedom. My parents are more understanding. After all, I am now a member of the working population.

So, give a little, take a lot is what I've been feeling. I now have the thing a lot of teens are in need of. A message to all out there on the web: the stress of school and the never-ending impending future can really be lifted with just a slice of freedom so that you can become what you were meant to be. Because, as we know, being a teen these days should be the best years of your life.