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Posts Tagged ‘teens’

 
How about this bit of human interest news? According to a front page story in the New York Times, teenagers now use a hug to say hello, enveloping even those they may not know wellkidshug. Everyone’s hugging – boys, girls, BFFs, casual acquaintances, even groups. 

What’s up with that? Are the hugs the leading edge of ever more casual interaction between people. Is it a teen reaction to the sterile isolation of virtual communication – e-mail, text, IM and Twitter? Are young people looking for connection in an uncertain world? Are they trying to make the geeks and the squeamish and the Christina Ricci Goth girl types who are ChristinaRicciuncomfortable with human contact feel even more out of it? Or is this simply another way for teens to defy convention and push defensive school administrators worried about inappropriate contact between students even further to the wall? Maybe all of the above.  

No matter; everybody’s doing it in high school. If it’s subversive, it’s cleverly so. I mean, who doesn’t love hugs? So warm, so fuzzy so fraught with meaning.hug frog

Somewhere back in the nineties, I read something about human beings needing fourteen hugs a day in order to feel well-adjusted. I was not about to depend on my exhausted, hard-working husband to deliver all fourteen so I settled for three or four and a shot at being moderately well-adjusted. At the time, I was married but working from home, thus somewhat socially isolated. My husband didn’t seem to worry at all, bless his well-adjusted soul. 

Now that I’m on my own and have a huggable little dog, I don’t feel as if I need physical contact with everyone and anyone I run into. I’m worried, in fact, that this ritual greeting might become a common cultural convention in social and business settings.menHugs I wouldn’t like that. I don’t want to hug my clients. I like my mailman Willy well enough. Hell, we  went through the anthrax scare together (Willie still wears a glove, kind of like Michael Jackson).  I tip him at Christmastime. But I don’t want a hug from him. Nor do I want the saleslady from Ann Taylor to accompany her enthusiastic “Those pants are so you!” with a hug. My doctor? No. My neighbor? Definitely not.  The cute guy who walks his dogs at the same time I walk mine? Okay, you got me there.

soloHugI am all in favor of shrinking our carbon footprints and trying to use up fewer resources but for better or for worse, I have managed to create my own space and I, for one, would appreciate it if no one would invade it uninvited.

 

 

 

How about this bit of human interest news? According to a front page story in the New York Times, teenagers now use a hug to say hello, enveloping even those they may not know well. What’s up with that? Are they the leading edge of ever more casual interaction between people. Is it a reaction to the sterile isolation of virtual communication – e-mail, text, IM and Twitter? Are teens looking for connection in an uncertain world? Is this designed to make the geeks and the squeamish and the Christina Ricci Goth girl types who are uncomfortable with human contact feel even more out of it? Or is this simply another way for teens to defy convention and push defensive school administrators worried about inappropriate contact between students even further to the wall? Maybe all of the above.
No matter; everybody’s doing it in high school, apparently – across gender and racial lines and including group hugs. If it’s subversive, it’s cleverly so. I mean, who doesn’t love hugs? So warm, so fuzzy so fraught with meaning. 
Somewhere back in the nineties, I read something about human beings needing fourteen hugs a day in order to feel well-adjusted. I was not about to depend on my exhausted, hard-working husband to deliver all fourteen so I settled for three or four and a shot at being moderately well-adjusted. At the time, I was married but working from home, thus somewhat socially isolated. My husband didn’t seem to worry at all, bless his well-adjusted soul.
Now that I’m on my own and have a huggable little dog, I don’t feel as if I need physical contact with everyone and anyone I run into. I’m worried, in fact, that this ritual greeting might become a cultural convention. I mean, I like my mailman Willy. Hell, we  went through the anthrax scare together (Willie still wears a glove, kind of like Michael Jackson).  I tip him at Christmastime. But I don’t want a hug from him. Nor do I want the saleslady from Ann Tailor to accompany her enthusiastic “Those pants are so you!” with a hug. My doctor? No. My neighbor? Definitely not.  The cute guy who walks his dogs at the same time I walk mine? Okay, you got me there.
I am all in favor of shrinking our carbon footprints and trying to use up fewer resources but for better or for worse, I have managed to create my own space and I, for one, would appreciate it if no one would invade it uninvited. 

 

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I was surprised to learn, via a recent New York Times article, that scouting for older kids (“young adults”) has expanded to include training to deal with terrorist attacks, hostage situations and border skirmishes. The training involves producing life-like settings “not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting.”

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Phew, that’s a relief.

Things have certainly changed since my older brother was an Explorer back in the sixties. The teenaged boys (no girls allowed until later) were offered adventures above and beyond what traditional scouting had to offer and the chance to acquire some useful skills, like wilderness survival, navigation and first aid or even, as part of the Sea Scouts, nautical training. It was all kind of wholesome, albeit in a God-centric, homophobic kind of way.

1955.02_explorer_scouts_mayor_lawlor_c

Times are different. The article noted the training represents “…an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.” The accompanying photo made these kids – sorry, “young adults” – look like SWAT team mini-recruits. Very intense.

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I suppose you can’t have too many people trained to police our borders, or be ready to take on terrorists. But if BSA (Boy Scouts of America) wants to offer its older members excitement, discipline, growth possibility and not only career but life-skills training (I think I’m fairly synthesizing the Explorer goals), the organization is missing some real opportunities. I mean, why stop at possible jobs with police or fire departments or Homeland Security? What about training for a position that might more typically be available to young people in these days of budget cutbacks? To give just one example of a simulation focused on career preparation:

Call Center Customer Service: Explorers are trained to multi-task by simultaneously pretending to listen to customer complaints, reading from a prepared script and updating Facebook pages. call centerParticipants are also encouraged to find other, creative ways to fend off mind-numbing boredom while at the same time avoid getting caught by the floor manager or called out by a customer who demands to talk with a supervisor.

As for a practice session that simulates an absolutely true-life situation:

Explorers must stand patiently in line for up to six hours at a job fair or unemployment office before coming face to face with an uninformed, unhelpful or openly hostile worker who will either send the Explorer to the back of the line, to another line, or home. Participant will be expected not to react violently, but instead restrict reaction to mild, inaudible grumbling while complying with orders from a clearly inferior person. The exercise teaches patience, temperance and belief in a Higher Authority or at least payback. unemployment

I’d like to believe neither of these situations or the several others I came up with (but didn’t include) might require training in dealing with terrorism, hostage situations or skirmishes with immigrants both legal and illegal. Then again, it’s a whole new world out there – Scout’s honor.  scout

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