In the Long Run
After having run-ins with two troubled students, Brian of An Audience of One questions how to make teenagers understand that dropping out of high school will affect them for the rest of their lives:
The first student belligerently refused to serve her assigned detention... She said, “I hate school. I won’t go. You can’t make me.” ...My question to her was, “Ok, lets say your mom gives in and allows you to drop out. Then what?” She mumbled something about getting a job. “What kind of job could you do?” She couldn’t name a single job that she would be willing to do or was qualified for. “Don’t you think you should be able to answer that question before you talk about quitting school?” Thirty minutes of a conversation with her mother and I produced no answers. How do you make her see what her choices will lead to?
Creating a vision of the future and tying it to present day actions is a major challenge in schools and in the home. How do you create that connection between what happens today and what happens in the future? How do you make someone understand that what feels good right now will lead you down a path to ruination? You relate your own mistakes, those of others, and try to say, “you don’t have to do this.” You are young and the world is there for you to seize.