When speaking with a friend about teenage suicide, I asked her if it would surprise her that every classroom I walked into over 90% of the students know someone who has had a suicidal thought? I went on to tell about a time I spoke to a student body of 400 high school teens at a public high school. When I asked if any teen in the audience knew somebody who had a suicidal thought all 400 raised their hands. I can tell you the administrators, counselors and teachers at that highly decorated school were shocked.

My friend told me the first thing people will say is that today’s generation of young people is weaker than previous generations. That caused me to pause and think. My response is the following:

Really? I remember as a child hearing the same thing about my generation. If you search the internet you will find writings complaining about the younger generation all the way by to Roman Times. What problem has that statement ever solved?

As I think about it, maybe it is our generation that doesn’t spend enough quality time with our children today. Maybe it is our generation that is so engrossed in competition that we don’t allow our children to lose one game without being chastised. Maybe it is our generation that will not protect young children from too high standards or expectations by society today. Maybe it is our generation that cannot simply give our children a compliment without a qualifier about how they could get better. Maybe is our generation so desperate to live our life through our children we don’t even consider what their dreams might be. Maybe it is our generation that is too weak to hug our children or hold their hand or, God forbid, say something as corny as “I love you.” Maybe it is our generation who cannot say the words of encouragement I use to hear from so many adults as a child. Words like,”you will make it”, “don’t be so hard on yourself” or “you don’t don’t have to be perfect” which made you feel normal during the teen years when you didn’t like yourself.

Real problems have real solutions. But maybe the problem doesn’t solely rest on the generation we think it does. Maybe it is time to take responsibility and change. Maybe the problem is us.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Krause - Teen Suicide Prevention Speaker - What Ever Happened to the Average Student?
Nixa, MO
417-830-9240 cell
National Educational Motivational Speaker -
Parenting 2.0 Global Presence Ambassador
20-time Contributing Author Chicken Soup for Soul
Author - A Teen's Guide to NOT Being Perfect
31 year teacher/coach Missouri Public School System (retired)