Teenagers’ stubbornness is a phenomenon that has never left me personally. The conviction with which I stand behind my opinion is sometimes hard to hold onto, and I see that it is difficult for those close to me to accept it. However, it is worth standing up for something that I believe is true – something that has its roots in the conviction that I am doing the right thing. What I consider to be moral and worthy of following says more about me than about the truth itself. It reflects what I believe is true and the path I want to take in life.
During high school, it is important for us to focus on what motivates us, what is good for society, and what we can do for others.
Where is the belief in truth anchored?
In searching for an answer, I arrived at the well-known Kohlberg’s theory of Moral Development. As we grow, we go through six stages of how we evaluate things as right or wrong. Initially, as children, we learn based on reward and punishment. If I was punished, then I must have done something wrong. However, later on, we begin to notice that there is a difference between who punished and rewarded us. In fact, what is right and wrong can be viewed from different perspectives. Then comes the stage where it is important to us how others see us, especially close and important people. So what others approve of is what is right. The next stage is where what is right is what is established and accepted by the broader society – the law. The last two stages are those where a person begins to perceive that while shared values are usually established by the majority, there are cases where this does not apply. Is it good to steal medicine that can save a life? Will we prioritize life over the law? The final level is when we create our own “list” of values that we consider to be right and are willing to defend it, stand by it, and bear the consequences of our actions.
On one hand, I think that this final stage reminds me a lot of teenagers. The strength I see in arguments – in the conflict between two worlds, parents and children, shows the power of conviction about the truth. The willingness to stand up for one’s own truth despite the punishment that may come from parents. Despite the differences in what these two worlds think is right and the sharpness of the argument, it is important (on the part of the parent) to show understanding and build confidence in the relationship. Supportive relationships provide the opportunity to develop self-confidence in one’s own abilities and emotions. Additionally, it is necessary to clarify and talk about the reasons for the rules. Gradually transferring responsibility to one’s children and thus giving them the opportunity to develop the ability to make independent decisions.
Despite how my life changes with age, the above values, typical of teenagers, are still important to me. And I hope that I will always have enough audacity and stubbornness to be able to fight for the truth despite obstacles.