By Tanya Gunderson
Tanya Gunderson is a West Kelowna resident and mother of two teens and a mini dachshund. She is a diehard optimist, although the kids know her better as lame. The dog is on the fence about it.
In a moment of near insanity, Gunderson agreed to take a journey into foreign and uncharted territory – the minds of five teens. But first she fed them pizza — like tossing meat to hungry lions — and pop to satiate them so they would be more amenable to her questions.
Last week, they vented about their parents; this week, they gave her the low down on Donald Trump, school and what bae actually means.
The five teens are Jenna, Sydney, Courtney, Kyle and Steven.
I started with the easy question and the one they were most eager to answer. Trump. What’s the word on the street with this guy?
Kyle: I’m really not OK with him putting up a wall. It’s a dumb idea. Our Socials teacher said Trump can be compared to Hitler. People are just following him, but not really sure why. They just like how everything is so crazy around him.
Steven: His hair looks like the strings you see on corn on the cob…what’s that called? Corn silk. He has corn silk looking hair. But I don’t think what he’s doing and saying is right. He scares me.
It’s like there would be a war if he won because so many people don’t agree with him. Like what are those people gonna do if he wins? I don’t think I’ll wanna go to the U.S.A. if he wins. It might be crazy there.
Jenna: Dude, he’s too extreme. He just says stuff and doesn’t think how it might make the people he’s talking about feel. And why does he yell in all of his speeches? Why wouldn’t he just talk in a normal voice? I’d never vote for him.
They don't like Trump, but they aren't big fans of teachers either.
Sydney: Teachers sometimes act too much like they’re your parents. And they’re just like parents where they only care about your grades, but not your mental health. It’s just always grades. Why is mental health awareness only for a week? It should be something that happens all the time. Like stress happens all year, not just for one week.
Courtney: I think the schools don’t know how to deal with bullies; like they have a hard time. I was having a problem with someone at school and there was supposed to be a meeting about it with the school and it’s been two weeks and nothing’s been done.
I think they forgot because they don’t know how to stop it anyways. Or maybe they think it’ll just go away if they ignore it (laughs).
Kyle: Yeah. There’s so much bullying, but the teachers don’t care or they pretend not to see. I get bugged all the time about my job and I know teachers have heard other kids saying sh*t to me, but they don’t do anything and this is like every day it happens. I find it annoying and rude.
Jenna: Teachers are always on us to be independent and look out for ourselves. but then they go and call or email your parents instantly over the littlest things (laughs).
Sydney: I think it’s dumb how they try and parent us and take away our phones or tell us to cover up our skin if we’re wearing something they don’t like. Like everyone else is wearing the same type of clothes, so why are you only picking on me?
Steven: I think the principal’s oblivious to what the teachers say to us. You have to book an appointment just so you can rant to him about a bad teacher.
Jenna: Principals will only hear what they want to anyways, so it doesn’t matter if you do book an appointment.
Kyle: I think the schools should be teaching us about things we need to know about for what we wanna do when were done. I’ll never have use for some things we learn, but because they say we need to know it, I’m forced to learn it. And then I’m not interested in it, so I get a bad mark in it or whatever.
Steven: Yeah totally. They should be teaching us about things we actually need to know about and not things that we learn only because others had to learn it before us. We should be learning things about buying a house or something. Or finding a real job. Or doing our own taxes or what the point of taxes even is (laughs).
Sydney: Exactly. Like if you want to be a nurse, why do you need to know about the Vikings? Socials should be an option.
Jenna: Know what shouldn’t be an option? Having Kleenex and hand sanitizer in every classroom. There should be a rule that there has to be some in every classroom.
Upon writing up this interview and reviewing the notes I’d made, I recalled a wise person telling me that teens have a lot to say and aren’t given enough credit.
Our kids see and hear a lot. And they have very valid thoughts on matters that affect them directly. We just have to let them give their input, and beyond that, we need to listen to what they’re trying to tell us. Adults, tend to force them to believe and think like us. But sometimes, they may know more right than we do.
And for anyone still reading and wondering, bae is another word for a person’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
It’s short for baby. I know. I don’t get it either.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.