ave adolescens, morituri te salutamus!

August 8, 2015

The adolescents require so, oh SOOO much external structure in their lives.

At another level, they also resist that, rightly so. So, these seemingly contradictory pulls make dealing with them, that much more challenging and endlessly tiring.

As a wag said, an adolescent is a teenager who acts like a baby when you don’t treat him (or her)  like an adult. Truly and verily.

Lately, I have been going through the books and ‘learned’ journal articles on the psychology of adolescents from various perspectives and am thoroughly flummoxed, to say the least.


One thing that I have realized is that no linear textbook approaches work; and whenever I practice whatever I am preaching them, it works. Whether it is sports or gardening or real physical hard work or solving equations or  laboured humour, whatever… Another fact is that whenever I link whatever that I am trying to explain – to real life scenarios and things that they can readily observe and internalize – that concept mostly sticks in their hormone crazed brain. The bearings of that concept may need to be polished & greased now and then, but it is there. Gratifyingly so.

I am reminded of an anecdote:

Once there was a teacher who had to go to a hospital and at the reception-counter had to  fill-up some form giving the details of her life and health. There was a question in that form: Have you ever been exposed to toxic substances in your life? Does the place of your work, makes you deal with toxic substances as a matter of routine? Could you name them? The teacher thought for a while and wrote: Yes. I deal with the adolescent hormones all the time.


But it is fun to be with them, if one has the patience and can doggedly pursue the objectives and has loads of sense of humour, and sometimes, erm, silliness; also, the amount of trust that they repose in you, if you capture their imagination in one way or the other, is like gestalt. At one level, one feels really honoured to be with them.

To cite an example, I routinely ask the erdkinder (=adolescents in Montessoriese) to take their practice tests at home and am 100% sure (gratifyingly so) that they do make a genuine attempt at it, in spite of nobody really ‘monitoring’ them at home and they never fake knowledge or expertise. I think, this is what happens, when a child is self-driven and pursues something because he/she wants to pursue it and NOT because someone says so – and in no small measure, I think, this incredible attitude is blamable on the good ol’  Montessori mode of tutelage that happens in the School.

When the erdkinder actually started taking their ‘rigorous’ tests and stuff at school – a few months back, I was amused because, they kept helping each other during the exams! Not in a clandestine manner, but openly – because they could not think of NOT sharing what they know and wanted to genuinely help their fellow mates! After much discussion, now they have come to a point where they can take their tests silently. All of them, do well in their tests, well, most of the time…

I am also proud  of the erdkinder (as do the other adults who deal with them on a routine basis, but silent unlike yours truly), but we want, coax and cajole them to stretch their physical selves, their imagination, their capabilities, their lives…

Adolescents – quem di diligent, what else…

And yes, ave adolescens, morituri te salutamus!

JournalEntry# 9th July, 2009

One Response to “ave adolescens, morituri te salutamus!”

  1. Jataayu Says:

    A wonderful post sir. Thank you.

    BTW, is there a place in the web where your older English writings are stored? Could you please provide the link? Would love to read them. Thanks.

மேற்கண்ட பதிவு (அல்லது பின்னூட்டங்கள்) குறித்து (விருப்பமிருந்தால்) உரையாடலாமே...

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