I remember being a Teenager. I had more energy than brains. My thought to action process took place in seconds. If it looks like fun, do it. This was about all there was to my thinking. I thought it was just me but over the years I noticed it wasn’t just me. It is how a normal male and possibly female Teenage Brain works – little thought, lots of action.
I was luckier than most. I grew up in a rural area. There wasn’t a lot to destroy, or get into trouble over. I am not sure how I would have fared if I had been born and raised in a city, like where I live now. The Teenage brain has not changed, only mine has as I have aged. The Teen brain has two states, on and off.
There is a group in Chicago which is teaching Teens about pausing and thinking before acting. How to create a decision making process instead of reacting. Since it was started, violent crime, and especially murder rate has dropped dramatically in the the Teen age group where the program is active.
The program is named BAM, an acronym for Becoming a Man. The main purpose of the program is to teach teens to think slower, and not act on impulse. The program shows a lot of success in just teaching at risk teens to pause and think for about thirty seconds before acting.
This gives a Teen and his brain a chance to think before acting. Is the argument worth fighting, going to prison, or dying for? The short pause the BAM program teaches, is saving lives, and keeping otherwise good kids out of the prison system.
This is a concept that every parent should be teaching their kids starting before the teen years kick in. Here is an example of Teen no Think in action.
The picture above is of is a plastic bag dispensing container placed along walking path. The bags are there for dog walkers using the walking path to pick up and dispose of their dog’s droppings. There is a trash can for dog dropping disposal close by. Before these dispensers were put up along the walking path, it was no fun walking. There were piles of dog droppings about every three feet, and it stank – bad!
Notice the bags are yanked out and pulled around? This was done by a bored Teen acting on impulse. I am sure how the thought entered his mind, and he started yanking bags as soon as he reached the dispenser. I am sure it felt good too. It filled the need to do something.
Now if the the Teen Boy let himself think twenty or thirty seconds about this action before starting, he would have come to a better decision: People use these bags to clean up their Dog’s droppings. If I pull this apart there will be fewer bags available. That would mean more stinky dog droppings on the walking path. This is a stupid idea.
Obviously, the Teen Boy never thought about what he was going to do, he simply did it. I know now after he has had to think about it he feels really silly. I am sure it is not something he is telling his friends about. Thinking thirty seconds before acting is something everyone, not just Teens should practice. It saves lives, and makes life better for everyone.