We started a new group with teenagers today. They are challenging. They sit silently and watch me. They don’t want to be here - their mothers sent them to this therapy group. They look at me and see another adult who is going to push them to do something they don’t like to do. They think they don’t need to work on themselves to improve because they are still brand new to this world. They are waiting to grow up and become the owners of this world, and the adults who lecture and bore them will become old, weak and insignificant.
This is how I feel around teens. I am scared of their power. I also feel guilty that the world we have created for them is not perfect at all. I feel frustrated that it is so hard to work with them, much harder than with my adult community. And at the same time I am passionately and stubbornly attached to the idea of teaching Process Work to teens. I want to bring teens to my school where they can learn the most important skills of understanding yourself and others. They can learn the art of being compassionate and successful in society, the art of living a creative life, the art of leadership with a heart.
They don’t trust this adult world and they are bored. But something has happened in the group. Me and my co-leader acted out a relationship problem, and in that moment the teens livened up. A girl who was silent for half of the class suddenly became interested and started to give ideas on how to resolve the conflict. She said that she wanted to be a psychologist and we welcomed her to the team. Then a boy shared that he wants to be a surgeon, and is going to spend half of his time in Africa to help people there. The frozen kids suddenly became humans with intellect and heart. We all got involved in that moment of mindful and reflective communication. What a momentary release! Maybe I can share my passions and knowledge with them, maybe, maybe.
The time of class has run out, the kids grab their cellphones and run away, me and my co-leader are left in the empty room with the mandalas they drew and many questions in the air.