Today my writer's notebook invitation was a poem about adolescents. I know I've written about my students' writing before, but I am always amazed when they reveal the depth of their insight; when they reveal a piece of their fragile heart with me and their classmates. Here were some of my students' responses today.
"Maybe the trouble is not the adolescents, but the people who are afraid we are growing up way too fast."
"It's Friday night but I don't dare ask to go anywhere my parents won't be. My parents say no because they don't want the creepers to get me, but behind his husky voice I hear the double meaning to my father's words. What he's really saying is, "You're growing up too fast and I can't stand it.This is the only way I can stop you from going out on your own too soon, so no." My birthday is in two weeks. I'll be 15, but I don't dare get my hopes up for a phone, because my dad says no because I'll use it too much. But behind his tired voice I hear the double meaning. What he's really saying is, " If you get your own phone I have no way to control you. You're growing up too fast."
"I can feel it. It's coming. Adulthood is calling my name. I can hear it as clearly as the cry of a songbird. I know it will find me sooner or later, and though I cower behind my youth, I know I can only hide for so long. Time will destroy my only hiding spot, and eventually I'll be forced to face the horrifying reality: I'm growing up. With age, more memories will come. With them will be the curses of realization, actuality, and maturity. All of them combining into the monstrosity that is adulthood. Why can't I stay a kid? I don't want to grow up; where's 'Neverland' when you need it?"
"The day we enter little girls, excited to be teenagers. New clothes, new school, new ways. We come into adolescents with bows in our hair and the button up shirts our moms dressed us in. We enter not knowing the life ahead, but excited for the journey. The journey through the jungle of adolescents. We enter as images of our parents, because that's all we have known. We face the obstacles: boys, drama, friends. It's when you fall in love with the boy you think you'll be with forever, but the relationship is over after a week. Now is when you meet friends you think you will have for a lifetime. These are the things that change us."
" Adolescents- you may say we're changing, and we are. But we are still what we used to be. We still find it tempting to jump in a rain puddle. Some of us would rather run around outside than text. We're still alive and curious as ever."