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November 8, 2012 / Rabbi Laura

Hearing Teen Voices

I have followed the work of The Search Institute for years. They continue to be at the forefront of research on how communities, schools and faith-based groups can best support teens. Their work has inspired many more efforts in this area. It has inspired me.

The Search Institute just released new research in a project called Teen Voice.  Search went directly to teens (1,860 15-year-olds in three cities across the United States) to learn what they need from adults.  You can download a report of the study to read more.  For those who want the down-and-dirty, here are the top ten tips from teens to adults:

1.     Look at us.

2.     Spend time talking with us.

3.     Listen.

4.     Be dependable.

5.     Show appreciation for what we do.

6.     Relax.

7.     Show that you’re interested.

8.     Laugh with us (and at yourself).

9.     Ask us to help you.

10.  Challenge us.

So often we – adults – think that teens don’t want to “waste” their time with adults. They’d rather be with their friends, listen to their music, anything else.  But that isn’t true.  Teens want to connect with us. They yearn for that connection and those meaningful conversations.

Do you have a teen in your life that you connect with in one of these meaningful ways? If not, consider creating one of those relationships.

Try it, you’ll like it. And s/he will never forget it.


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