Why do kids, especially teenagers, do crazy stuff?
Maybe it's because their brains aren't fully developed, according to "At What Age Is the Brain Fully Developed?" on mentalhealthdaily.com. The post states: "Although brain development is subject to significant individual variation, most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25."
This means a teenager has a long way to go.
That is never a good excuse for doing foolish things, but certainly lack of maturity combined with boredom can explain — but not condone — pulling pranks. One of the braver, crazier teenagers throws out an idea, peer pressure kicks in and those who should know better just go along with it.
My daughter, Melissa, forwarded me an email sent to parents from Todd McKee, principal at Timpview High School in Provo, and I'm sharing portions here with permission. He specified several thoughtless pranks that caused damage and made it necessary to remove paint and rekey the school at great expense. In these cases, teenagers often don't realize how situations can get out of hand, and innocent bystanders can be involved or injured.
He related one of his worst experiences as an administrator when a group of students decided to fill an old pit in the commons with water and goldfish. Five law enforcement agencies responded.
McKee writes in his email, "In this day and age, what may appear to be an innocent, fun prank can result in horrific results."
Looking back, I wish my children's schools would've created a service project day toward the end of the school year, a time when it seems students tend to get restless, where anyone who participated would get a reward, such as a card to enter a barbecue that evening or something of the sort.
Years ago at a business dinner, a man related a story of growing up in Salt Lake City, where a trolley used to run through the town. He and his friends would grease the tracks before the trolley came down a steep hill. Then they would lie in wait to watch the trolley zoom past them.
Puzzled, I asked, "Isn't that considered vandalism?"
He replied, "It depended on how high you greased the tracks. We just wanted to give the people a little thrill, so we never greased them too high."
What a crazy thing for some bored teenagers to do. I suppose the thoughts of what could have happened if something had gone wrong made me remember the story.
McKee ended his email with, "Please take a moment to speak with your child about ending the school year in a positive way and avoiding any activity that may be unsafe, disruptive or result in damages to the school. We have had a great school year thus far, and I appreciate your support as we try to end it on a high note."
That is wise advice for anyone.