What if I told you there was a way to get through to your teen -- a woman, actually, whom you could pay to sit down with your kid and get them to open up. A woman so talented, in fact, that there's a four-month waiting list just to arrange an appointment with her, despite her 12-hour a day shifts. A woman so revered that parents fly her all over the country to talk to their children, to reach their children. A woman so successful at what she does, she's called the Teen Whisperer. Is this heaven, you ask? No, it's Iowa. Her name is Ramona Barber and she's from Des Moines.
Ms. Barber has a special talent when it comes to talking to young people. We all know it's especially difficult to get your hormonal eye-rolling teen to talk to you about their feelings, but Ms. Barber has the secret. It's not something she can pinpoint, exactly, but believes that her asthma has something to do with it.
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As a young girl, her asthma was so bad she couldn't play with the other children, so instead she had to sit, listen, talk, and observe. All skills that would eventually prove necessary for decoding a teen.
Parents send their kids to Barber because they believe she can help. She's sort of a special kind of college adviser (one whom other, school-employed college counselors aren't necessarily fans of), and she gets teens to hone in on what they really want to study in college. "Revealing aptitude is her trademark," says USA Today.
Barber charges about $300 a session, and with her stellar reputation, it sounds as if she's worth it. As a teen who entered college thinking about majoring in everything from Art History to Oceanography to Communications to Education to Whatever I'll Just Drink My Face Off for Four Years, I think I would've benefited from a Teen Whisperer focusing in on my (alleged) aptitude for English Lit and creative writing.
It would've saved me hours in the lab looking at algae anyway, that's for sure.
Of course, Barber has naysayers, but hey -- if there’s someone out there who’s mastered the impossible skill of talking to teens, who has good intentions, and who’s for hire? Well, then, I’m sold.
Would you hire the Teen Whisperer?
Photo via igorputina/Flickr