Editorial: Teens, do you want to seem older?

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Teenagers often want to look older, and to do this they sometimes turn to smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.

But that doesn’t truly make them look older. Instead, it fulfills unfortunate stereotypes of teenagers. It makes them another cliché. It makes them look like the troublesome youth about which adults are always concerned.

The smart teenagers are the ones who pursue responsibility. This makes them look older. Being an adult is not about cigarettes and alcohol. It is about paying bills, working hard to bring home a paycheck, changing diapers, spending quality time with children and seniors, staying fit, doing chores and being polite and civil.

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In fact, many adults pursue knowledge even though they aren’t in school. They visit their library and read books. They are involved in community efforts to better the place in which they live. They are engaged in civics. They are trying to pave a way for children to have a better existence.

Yes, there are some adults who never grew up, who think life is about partying, and they won’t accept responsibility. And, yes, there are some very responsible adults who drink or smoke, vestiges of mistakes they made when they were young.

But that doesn’t mean teenagers should make the same mistakes. Our point is this: If teenagers want to look older, they should pursue responsibility. They should pursue leadership, trustworthiness, patience, kindness, fitness and dependability. Seek wisdom, not foolishness.