A twelve-year-old human is mature enough to contribute to society but is, in most cases, unnecessary and unwanted.
This is not a new phenomenon. We have not needed adolescents for over 100 years.
While adolescents' bodies and minds are quite capable of meaningful contribution, our society consistently chooses to treat them more like prisoners to contain than citizens to release.
Some will argue that this supervision is necessary due to the lack of maturity evidenced in young people. But, is this truly a deficit of maturity? Or, is it possibly a surplus of personhood - capacity, creativity, passion. Perhaps adolescents are too human to simply be herded about until there is a place where we will allow them to directly contribute to our society.
This is a tragedy for our society and for these students.
These students are an untapped ocean of positive and creative capacity that often becomes a tidal wave of mischief and mayhem. That says very little about them, and quite a bit about our modern culture - a culture where youthful capacity is a ‘problem’ to be dealt with versus a tremendous opportunity and asset.
Some of this 'problem’ we medicate away, dissolving unneeded potential in a billion dollar pharmaceutical cocktail. Some of the surplus we direct toward sports, A.P. classes, school clubs, or other such hamster wheel efforts designed at keeping students busy and contained. Sadly, much of their unwanted capacity is absorbed by Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, and random social activity.
But, what about a generation of adults that labels adolescent capacity an inconvenient problem?
What about a generation of adults too busy with their own life to join hands with a younger generation facing a complicated and changing world?
When we blame the young and voiceless for the struggles of our day, it says more about us than it says about them.