January 21st, 2014 § 2 Comments
This may be old news to you. Or you may have never considered such a thing. Come to think of it, there’s fair chance that I’m “Out in the woods” babbling about things that do not exist. For what it’s worth, based on my observations, here’s what I think. You be the judge.
Around the age of eight or nine, an awareness of self develops. “Hmm … I am me.” This awareness, prompts a question: “Who am I?” I’ve written before about what I believe is our initial “look” inward. In case you’re interested
The brutally honest self assessment done secretly, internally yields a vague, and at best an unsatisfying picture of self. A picture then that must be changed, upgraded – one, we can live with. It is this quest to formulate a better answer to the question, “Who am I?” that shapes the teenage experience.
What does an amnesiac do? He looks at himself in the mirror and asks, “Who am I?” The mirror reflects back to him, at least in part, the answer. The image of self. I believe it is why peers become so important to teenagers. They reflect back an image that is alike. When the question of self is the most pressing question, a teenager cannot see himself in an elder or a child. He seeks a reflection bouncing off someone like himself. And what a teenager does as he sees the image coming into unalterable focus is he desperately tries to manipulate it into a better answer.
A teenager is consumed by a need to formulate a better answer to the question. Like others in search of an answer, he naturally turns to a mirror and asks, “Who am I?”