I met some young people the other day. I don’t really meet many teenagers. They were pleasant but slightly alarming. I don’t think I was at all as confident and articulate at 16.
R (16) told me about his motorbike and showed me a picture on his phone. Someone on his estate died in a motorbike accident last week: “he wasn’t wearing a helmet, it happens”.
R is the product of a brief union. He has five step-brothers and sisters from his mother’s second marriage and several more from his father’s first marriage. He also has a baby sister from his father’s third marriage to a woman from Cameroon. Modern Ireland in microcosm. When he leaves school he wants to join the British army. Not the Irish army because they only go on peacekeeping missions.
R’s friend H asked me what I was going to do about teenage pregnancy rates. “Nothing” I said and then ventured “actually, I think that Ireland has a quite a low rate for teenage pregnancy“. “Not in my school” she said whipping out her mobile phone to show me her 15 year old friend’s scan.
I feel very middle aged now, I can tell you.