A Tribute To Teenagers
We all hear the noise – kids aren’t the same anymore, they have no respect, they want everything now, their clothes, their music, and on and on.
Today I had a great experience.
Big One and three friends (all 17 years old) had a day off school and decided to spend some time in downtown Toronto. I work right downtown in a (semi-stuffy) Corporate office building.
Big One called my cell and I didn’t take the call since I was in a meeting. I checked the message when I was free and she asked if the four of them could stop by to see me during their travels when they would be passing by my office. When I asked why they wanted to come by, she simply said “because I’d like to see you and my friends think it would be cool”.
They arrived and I escorted them from the lobby into my office on the 16th floor. I cautioned them to be quiet and respectful as there are many executives on my floor and they are working and conducting meetings. We spent 20 minutes in my office – them asking me what my day involved, and me asking them about their adventure downtown.
When I walked them back to the elevators, we passed the office of one of the most Senior Executives in the bank. I whispered to them “just follow my lead”, took them in his office, and asked if he had a minute to meet some great teenagers. He smiled, walked over to shake their hands, asked their names, and introduced himself. After a few minutes of asking them why they were downtown for the day, I informed him they had all just completed their university applications and were waiting for the acceptances to start the next leg of their education.
He asked each one which schools they had applied to and then gave them some advice. He told them to study hard, but not to take everything too seriously. He said to enjoy the experience, that they would never get the chance again, and not to miss the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of university. He also teased the two boys about being prepared to fend off the girls.
He thanked them for stopping to meet him and wished each of them well with their upcoming decisions.
As we walked away, I thought about how fortunate I was to work with someone who would take the time from his busy day, see them as people and not as kids, and share his perspective and relevant advice with them.
And then, I also reflected on how fortunate I am to have a daughter who is 17, still wants to bring her friends to see her mom, and hangs with a crowd I could bring into that corporate environment without worrying about their appearance or behaviour.