SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 256: Hey I’m Just A Teenager… I Don’t Know Everything”

I get into a sidewalk discussion with a couple of unknown neighbors. Denise (not pictured) digs the 365 project, “You should interview my sixteen year old son, he always has something to say.”

Five minutes later, I’m standing at the door meeting her the young and brilliantly outspoken Daniel.

I’ve often said, “The future is in good hands,” and Daniel is at the front of the pack in supporting that notion.

With a perfect 4.0 GPA, Daniel is not only intelligent; he is wise beyond his years.

Denise invites me into their home for a neighborly visit. I have to tell you it’s been really cool getting to know not only the people of my city and wherever I travel, but also those that live so close to me. This alone forces me to challenge us all to do the same.

You often hear me spout from my soapbox, “Say hello to the world.” And with the experience of this entry, I guess we have to ask ourselves, “Do we know our neighbors?”

I’ll admit, that until 365, I was a little reclusive in my community. That will never be the same again. The quest to know my neighbors is ramping up, and I encourage you to join me. If you have any stories, please comment. Know that we all always appreciate your contributions.

…Back to Daniel.

“Look to tomorrow” he proposes in positioning a secondary thought that accelerates our conversation to a deeper level. That thought… “Today’s problems are going to be gone.”

We talk about his point for a while and agree on a conclusion. What Daniel is saying is too many people are caught up in the wants of the now, or distracted by the influences, both negative and positive, that hit them, and us, every day. We’ve called it “The Storm Of Life” in past entries.

And at sixteen Daniel has found the secret that many of us much older folks are still trying to master. The way I see it, he is living towards the future, not obsessing about the now, and letting go of what he can’t control in acting on what he can.

“Today’s problems are going to be gone.” Daniel advises.

And in his council he leaves us a palpable action point. Do what we can now, and ponder how our actions will affect the future.

Daniel talks of letting go and of his view of the world, “If everything was answered for us, or life was perfect, there would be no point in living.

It’s hard being a teenager. There is peer pressure, insecurity, discovering emotions, feelings your don’t understand, bullying and starting to notice girls – a big part in being a teenage guy.

You start to get depressed because it’s too much to absorb. You think there is no way out… but eventually you start to understand.”

With a smile on his face Daniel put it into its plainest expression, “If life were perfect then everything would suck and there would be nothing to learn.

We need to find humanity. There is very little of it in our society. Everyone is all about being the best at any cost. They focus on the me, the individual. Asking what makes me happy, and never looking at how they can help others.”

Balance is what Daniel is discussing and I am strikingly impressed that in speaking with such a young man, the topic has even arisen.

Daniel is proof to us that the future truly is in good hands; hands that are forward thinking, compassionate in seeking a better world and best of all… realistic.

“It’s going to get worse,” Daniel forecasts.

Yet with his prediction, he directs us in what we can do to positively influence his apprehensions of a worsening path, “Live your life in a way that you feel is actually helpful.

 Don’t worry about what others are doing… just do what is right.”

But… Hey I’m just a teenager… I don’t know everything.