I’m sure most people have selective hearing to some extent, but teenagers are afflicted with this condition to an embarrassing degree. If my freshmen babies weren’t so terrified of receiving a poor grade, they would play video games on their iPads nonstop until carpal tunnel set in, completely tuning out my ramblings on Romeo and Juliet. But if you really want to grab the attention of those in the adolescent years, say something that sounds even remotely questionable in moral nature; and suddenly, you’ve got a captive audience. Allow me to recap a couple of instances on our class trip.
We were on our first college tour of an eight-college series, and the sophomores were already starting to glaze over as we ambled past impressive academic buildings and fountains. The two female guides rattled off statistics and facts about their school, but the most enthusiasm they had received thus far was in response to the statement that the cafeteria had both a sushi bar and a Starbucks. But then we wheeled around a corner, and one of our guides, who hailed from Trinidad and spoke with a lovely accent, made a declarative statement about their athletic facility. Her intentions were to sing the praises of their recreational building by calling it the Rec., but her inflexion changed the sentence into the following: “We have a truly amazing rack.”
That did the trick. Every boy in the group flirted with whiplash as necks snapped front and center to gain a better view of our guides. Such grandiose claims could not be taken lightly, and no scholar worth his salt would leave such crucial academic information unsubstantiated. If there’s one thing we want our students to practice, it’s to question and verify in order to form your own theory. Once data was gathered and the snickering subsided, we continued our trek across campus.
Female tour guides were not the only ones to snag the attention of the group with key words and phrases. A couple of colleges later, a young man in his junior year of study tried to explain the dorm situation to our students. Apparently, while the dorms are technically co-ed, this still entails gender segregation by floor. But as this ambassador of goodwill attempted to convey this layer-cake scenario, he chose unfortunate wording: “So we have an entire floor of boys with girls underneath them.” There was quite the flurry of information cards then as students now saw the urgency to receive additional information about this campus.
So while we teach our children to Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil, you can be sure that if evil (or lewd) is spoken, teenagers are first on the scene to apprehend the assailants.
© 2014 – Traci Carver