Shut Up and Sit Up

Examining the negative stereotypes regarding today's youth


High school students need to be seen in a better light.

Feeding you  insecurity for breakfast

They tell you sit up and shut up

You’re a mess, a chatterbox, a “class act” teen

Looking in the bathroom mirror

Asking what’s wrong with me

But you were wired

To ignore the light

And only see the fire

That destroys


They ignore the steps you take

Ignore how much you’ve grown

They don’t see the flowers you’ve nurtured

The seeds you’ve sown

Over years

You’ve improved

And you try to explain

But it ends in accusations

It ends in pain


So you sit  up and shut up

Just like you were told

And they wonder why you speak less

the routine is getting old

Can’t take it anymore

The cycle

Getting mad and slamming doors

So you disengage


You try to escape


And you sit down and shut down


Too many times do I hear that teenagers or high schoolers today are “brats”, or that teens are spoiled, immature, ungrateful. Too many times do adults make assumptions about our generation, sweeping generalizations. They don’t see the growth. They don’t see the work the youth puts in, the ways many of us stand up for equal rights, the way we embrace one another and overcome standards that served as blockades for so long. They don’t see the light within us. Never has the world been so connected, through social media that spans across the earth. Never have we been so informed, so full of information and sights and sounds and words. A whole internet culture has emerged and has transformed our slang, our humor, our lives. All adults see is a teen with eyes glued to a screen. They don’t see the good. They don’t see that we are vessels for a more integrated world. Of course, discipline is necessary, but there remains no excuse for petty complaints that serve no purpose. 

As I enter the adult world, I want to spread a positive outlook regarding my generation and those that come after, for we are the future, and we too can create, and we too will mature, just like the adults before us. We do not have it easy. The world is harsh and will remain so. The economy remains unstable, unpredictable, and highly competitive. There is still so much cruelty and heartbreak in the world as school shootings and mental illness are on the rise. We have our own challenges to face, unique to our time. Yet, I see so many new inventions, creations, young emerging talents. My generation has not been stifled. That is something to be proud of, something that adults should consider more often. High school students should be recognized for their hopeful hearts and eager eyes, not their rowdiness, but their youthful spirit. We need to be allowed to grow. Too many times do I see young minds discouraged rather than nurtured, or stressed to the point of breaking due to ridiculous expectations. Constructive criticism is beneficial, but validation and approval are necessary as well, especially from older figures. 

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