There are some things you can’t google. There are questions that you can’t answer by plugging them into a search engine. I remember when Ask Jeeves was first up and running, and I “asked”, “What’s the meaning of life?” The results were far short of satisfying.
The long and short of it is that there are existential questions we all grapple with and only time and experience and reflection can help us answer. For adolescents, some of their most pressing questions are about their identity. “Who am I?” “What makes me me and not some one else?” “How do I know who I want to be?” “Where do I fit in?”
As a girl starts high school, she’s finally settling into her body which has changed so much in such a short period of time. So, she starts a new quest: searching for her identity. She’s determined to be some one, to be known for something, to find her place in her family and in society. But she won’t get far before she has to ask herself, “Who am I, really?”
Her friends see her from many angles, but who really sees the real her? How can she figure out what the real her is even like?
She relies so heavily on her friendships at this time in her life because she’s afraid of not being “normal”. And yet, what’s presented to her as “normal” through the media and her environment will not help her find out who she really is.
She’ll probably experiment with a few “identities” before it’s all said and done, and those identities will probably be on opposite sides of the spectrum from each other.
So, what do you do with a teenager like that?
It’s important that, regardless of the “identity” she’s trying on that day, she finds something constant: love. She needs some one to accompany her through her turbulent search, not some one who proposes one more identity to test drive and then just leaves her the keys. She needs some one who can help her think through the gifts and challenges she is faced with. She needs some one who can show her by example what it means to be authentic. She needs you.