I read a great post this morning from Elizabeth Gilbert, titled In Defense of Teenagers, in which she wrote about how much she admired this generation of youth rising toward adulthood. She said, “Today’s American teenagers are the most sensitive, least violent, least bullying, least racist, least homophobic, most globally-minded, most compassionate, most environmentally-conscious, least dogmatic, and overall kindest group of young people this country has ever known.”
I agree with Liz. I have a teenager in the family, my eldest grandchild, Dayan, and he is all of the things Liz mentioned in her post, and more. I got to hang out with this thoughtful teen today. After picking him up from school, we grabbed snacks and chatted as we prepared to watch a couple of Dr. Who episodes. I heard about his day, and always polite and interested, he asked me about mine.
Before Christmas we watched the Dr. Who episode “Lost Child”, and Dayan was all grins as the episode ended with the line, “to be continued”. Ahhhh….a cliff hanger. Today we finally had the chance to see the rest of this creepy story with “The Doctor Dances”. I initially started watching Dr. Who because Dayan loves the series so much. I started with the first season of the new series and I have to admit, I’ve already come to like this quirky show which introduces a new doctor every season or two. It’s fun watching with Dayan who refuses to give any plot twists or surprises away. I thought I had this story about an “empty child” searching for his mum figured out until toward the end. There were a couple of twists and turns. It was a great story and the Doctor excitedly shouts at the end, “Everyone lives! Everyone lives!” These two episodes won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 2006.
We continued on to the next episode, “Boom Town”, in which the time traveling Doctor and his companions, Rose and Jack, travel to modern day Cardiff and come across an alien enemy, a Slitheen, intent on destroying Earth and escaping. This episode focused on the consequences of actions…the Slitheen had been a killer all her life… and the moral dilemna of accepting those consequences. I found this episode to be strangely touching, especially as the theme seemed to be about second chances. Rather than return her to her homeworld, where the death penalty awaited her, the Doctor allowed the Slitheen to be bathed in the light from the heart of the TARDIS (the Doctor’s sentient time traveling ship). After she smiled and thanked the Doctor, the Slitheen reverted to an egg, so that she could hatch and relive her life, allowing her to have that second chance. Good episode.
Before I left this evening, Dayan showed me his concept for the next Mail Art piece he will do. We are participating in a Mail Art Project in March, with the art being mailed to Austria this time! The theme is TURQUOISE and I have to say, Dayan has an amazing idea that he is already working on. I am lagging behind, yet it was very rewarding to see his creation coming together. He is one clever young man and I look forward to sharing more about this art project later. While we were on the computer, Dayan gave me a tech lesson on Google Drive. I have heard of this function, and being a gmail user, could have accessed it at any time, yet I wasn’t sure how it worked or the advantages of using Google Drive. Dayan gave me a quick lesson, showing me a recent school assignment that he and a classmate did using Google Drive. They could work on the project together, each on his or her own computer, sharing in the creation and editing. I was impressed! And so this kind and helpful teenager ran through the basics of using Google Drive with his willing-to-learn-new-things grandmother. At home I downloaded the program and already see possibilities for its use.
Liz concluded her post by encouraging her readers to give today’s teenagers a break and show them appreciation, rather than complaining about them. I can do that quite easily with my grandson, and I so appreciate Dayan and his compassion toward people and his willingness to see the good in others. I can do that as well with my cousin, Harry, who will soon enter his 20’s, but has had an amazing journey through his teens. There are other teens that I can encourage, walk alongside or simply smile at when I see them, giving them a nod of approval. This next generation has so much to offer, and their own way of offering. I am excited to see how their gifts shift the world.