Everybody knows the advantages of being a teenager. The old and the middle – aged, in particular, recall them with nostalgia. Teenage is a glorious period irradiated by Hope and Dream. It is a period of aspirations and striving, untouched by despair and disillusion. However dark the present may be, the future is bright, and the best is yet to come.
Teenage, however, is not without its disadvantages. A teenager, however qualified and brilliant he may be, is supposed to lack experience and maturity. On this ground, he is usually denied opportunities of holding high positions in any field of life. Many a bright competent youngster has to start his career in a humble capacity and to work under those whose only claim to a higher Position seems to be based on the number of grey hairs they have. This is not to deny the importance of practical experience. What should be remembered is that other qualities like knowledge, integrity and enthusiasm also should count. Nor should it be supposed that because a man is oldish, he necessarily has more practical experience in the real sense of the term. Many people cease to learn from life after they are thirty and for many others, practical experience means little more than a realization of the need to be selfish and dishonest in this world. Bernard Shaw has shrewdly remarked that every man over forty is a scoundrel. But so long – as the world is governed by the middle-aged and the old, the teenagers have to put up with this handicap of being thought inexperienced.
Another disadvantage of being a teenager is to be subjected to continual advice from elderly men and, of course, women. The elders are never tired of advising the young in season and out of season – in their affectionate letters, informal chats, and solemn convocation addresses. What is annoying about the advice is that, firstly, it usually consists of moral platitudes. It gets on one’s nerves to hear again and again the familiar common phrases, ‘Honesty is the best policy’, ‘Work is Worship’. The students of today are the citizens of tomorrow. Much of the advice that is so generously given is not followed by the preachers themselves.
Again, as soon as a teenager has completed his/her education and is employed or is about to be employed, frantic efforts are made by elders to bring him/her under the yoke of marriage. This is especially true of young girls. A young man or woman is regarded as a commodity in the matrimonial market. He or she is never permitted to enjoy for long the pleasures of the blessed single state. Jealous of the freedom of the young, the old coax, bribe, and threaten them, and are never content till they are married and tamed.