I went to work today and my boss's 12/13-year old son was there to help out. He's an interesting set of paradoxes. In some ways, he's a kid through and through. He plays street hockey, loves violent video games, hangs out with friends, and eats loads of sugar. But he seems odd for his age in other ways. He spent a good deal of time during quiet periods describing what he'd bought lately. He's very brand-loyal and can rattle off all the brands of stuff he has and wants. He collects colognes (real ones, not the Axe spray-on stuff) and uses them daily. (He's 13!) And he told me he skips meals sometimes and only eats at dinner, and is really afraid of getting fat.
I thought back to when I was in grade 7. Was I skipping meals and worrying about getting fat? No. Caught up in materialistic brand-chasing? Well...I coveted some brand name stuff but could never afford it, and still can't, although now I prefer to go cheap and stylish rather than slavishly collect designer labels. He's a precocious kid with a good head on his shoulders for such a young age; these tendencies toward materialism and a fear of fat...where do they come from? The media? His friends? Who knows? I just hope that, bright as he is, he will figure out these things for himself.