The Worst Thing that Ever Happened

Yesterday, as I sat at the coffee shop, a group of girls came and sat at the table next to mine. Most of them had just started their first year of college while at least one is embarking on her senior of high school. I couldn’t help perking up to parts of their conversation. It reminded me of something I’ve held to for a long time.

The things that are important to a teenager are very different than the things that are important to an adult or to a young child (generally speaking). I’ve heard adults wail and bemoan about teenagers being sooooo dramatic over things that really aren’t that big a deal.

But think about it–so you’ve gotten all ‘A’s all your life and your freshman year of high school, you get your first ‘B’. Well, no big deal, you’ll recover. Except that that’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you. Moving away from the town you grew up in is the worst thing that has ever happened. Breaking up with your boyfriend after one semester is the worst thing that has ever happened.

At this point in my life, I recognize that never being asked on a date until I got to college really wasn’t that big a deal. Moving was actually a good thing for me, and I made lots of new friends. Homework was not the most stressful thing that will ever happen in my life. But at the time, those were the most stressful, hardest things I had ever had to go through, and I had no prior experience to help me know how to handle it.

So when you’re writing for kids and teens or when you’re interacting with them, remember that they don’t have all the experience that you have and cut them some slack. Chances are, whatever they’re worried about is the worst thing that has ever happened to them.

2 Comments on “The Worst Thing that Ever Happened”

  1. This is such an insightful perspective, and excellently written! I love the way you used the phrase “the worst thing that’s ever happened.”

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