Teen Drama

Alex and I have been watching Friday Night Lights religiously this summer. From fiction’s safe distance, we can explore the torturous, thrilling lives of teens and the adults who love and fail them. We rage at their blindness, weep for their losses, and rejoice in their redemption.

It’s more than a guilty pleasure. We’re getting ready to move into a small dormitory with twelve boarding school students; a few dozen more will be in my classes; hundreds more will cross my path. All of us, teens and adults alike, will be doing our best, battling fear, seeking clarity, sharing joy.

Help me out: do you have a story about a time when an adult got it right–a time when an adult reached you, or you reached a teen, at just the right time? I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime, check out the anthem for today’s post: Kim Simpson’s “Joey Superteen” (track #2 on the linked site).

About Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson teaches religion, ethics, philosophy, and human rights at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. He is the author of *American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940* (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and nonfiction essays about Bosnia for the Canadian literary magazine *Numero Cinq*. Born in 1975 in Olean, NY, he earned the Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia, where he specialized in American religious history. He writes, teaches, and lectures about religion in America, popular culture, Mormonism, and Bosnia. He lives in Exeter with his partner, Alexis Simpson, and their two children.
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4 Responses to Teen Drama

  1. Mary says:

    Our niece was on a downward spiral academically during the latter half of middle school. When we visited, we thought maybe coming out to live with us would help. A change of scenery, a change in “rules”, and a “new beginning”. At 14, she made the move 2,000 miles west to live with us and has gone from nearly failing 8th grade to a GPA of 2.98 average over the past three years. She just started her Senior year in high school, and there’s no doubt that she will graduate. It’s been a lot of hard work for all of us, but worth it.

    • Tom Simpson says:

      Great story, Mary–what a turnaround…

      • Mary says:

        It really has been, and we’re very proud of her. She had a lot of potential as a “kid”, so we knew she could do it if we could help her find some motivation and provide her with the support she needs. Of course, the teen years haven’t been easy…but it’s been worth it.

      • Tom Simpson says:

        Yes indeed — let us all know when you spot someone having easy teen years. 🙂

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