Teen Tips Archives

The following is a collection of our teen tips.  We hope you find them helpful and encouarging. 
 
 
Balance your life and friends:
 
Think of the last time you were on a seesaw.  It was fun to try to balance it.  You took turns with different friends to go up and down.  Sometimes you were on top of the seesaw and sometimes on the bottom. 
 
That is how life is too.  Life is like a seesaw.  We can choose who we want to go with us and we can always get off if we want to.  There are times that life is balanced and there are times it is low or high.  The important thing to remember is that you always have choices.  You can add more friends if you need help or take away friends if they are not positive.
 
The important thing to remember is to have fun in life going up and down because life is like a seesaw.  The key is to find the right balance.
 
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Always worry more about your character than your reputation.  Your character is everything about you and the person you are.  Your reputation is the result of who you show yourself as.  In other words people will judge you by your actions, which in turn will give you a reputation.  Always do the right thing (character) to get a good reputation. 
 
The Grasshopper and the Ant (The Value of Hardwork)
 
You may remember this fable when you were in elementary school.  This story is a true classic because it applies even in today's modernized world.  The punch line to the story was that while the grasshopper was busy living it up, the ant was hard at work storing away for the winter.  The grasshopper laughed and ridiculed the ant and thought life is just great living in the moment. 
The ant went about its business and continued to work hard.  The grasshopper went about its business and wasted lots of time. 
 
In the end when winter finally came, the ant was all stored up and prepared, but the grasshopper had to beg and ask for help.  The grasshopper became despondent, depressed and dependent.  The ant on the other hand had a sense of freedom, felt secure, and was ready to enjoy the fruits of his labor. 
 
What matters most in life is that we prepare, work hard, have patience as you store up and build your future, and then later enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You can choose to be like the grasshopper and live for the moment never feeling a sense of accomplishment or be like the ant and work hard to understand the value of hard work. 
 
When Is My Ship Going to Come In?:
 
Many people complain that they never have any luck.  They think success or luck is for everyone else.  The truth is, success is for everyone if you work hard and do your best.  90% of success is showing up.  What this means is that if you do the necessary things everyday and give it your best, life will reward you.  One of the problems with a lot of people is that they don't even show up.  In other words they don't even want to get the basics done.  A lot of people put off their dreams and plans for tomorrow.  They wait, wish and say "one day my dreams will come true." 
 
A simple formula for success is to do the small things everyday, get the basics done, work hard and you will be successful.  The key is to show up mentally, physically and spiritually.  Be prepared and stay focused.  By following this plan not only will your ship come in, but the Queen Mary of a ship will arrive!  In this Queen Mary will be success being brought to you for your hard work.  First, you have to show up and then your ship will come in. 
 
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Iron Sharpens Iron
 
If you were to take a small butter knife and hold it up to a huge ax you would probably chuckle and think the butter knife could not serve a purpose for the ax.  The fact is that if the ax needed a little sharpening it could rely on the butter knife to generate some friction and give it a sharper edge.  If we reversed the process one would not second guess the capability of the ax.  Naturally it would sharpen its edges by using the butter knife to help.  The fact is, both need each other to sharpen their edges.  They can not stand alone once their edges are dull.
 
The same can be said with adults, children and young adult relationships.  Adults in families need their children and learn from them too.  Young people are always getting help to sharpen their skills, but the fact of the matter is, adults do need young people in their lives.  They are constantly learning a host of lessons from children and teenagers.  Try a small experiment to see if this point is valid.  Ask your parents or and adult from your family if they in fact learn anything from young people.  You can also ask an adult outside your family and listen for their response. 
 
Adults need to be respectful of young people and need to believe in their capability to contribute to the family, community and school.  They are training now to be adults later.  The adults serve as the ax being much larger and adept, however young people do play an important role in an adults life too.  Be prepared to help an adult or senior if the need ever arises because one day like the butter knife (young person) you may need to help sharpen an adults (the ax) life that may have become dull. 
 
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Shining S.T.A.R.S. at Winter Park High School Florida
 
Today's media and newspapers do young people an injustice.  They are quick to report violence and trouble, yet they are slow to tell of all the shining examples in America's schools.  One incident can ruin a school's reputation especially when the media is on it.  They will skew the reports to make it look like that one incident is indicative of the whole school's culture.  It is unfortunate that the school's reputation and image is darkened.
 
I can give a testimony to one particular school I recently facilitated a health workshop at that surpassed my expectations incredibly.  They gave me hope about America's future.  This school was Winter Park High School in Winter Park Florida.  Talk about a model school!  The students from Ms. Hillyards life skills health class were truly shining examples of responsible, skilled, intellectual, and mature students.  I am proud to say that these students are a sharp group and will do a superb job as the up and coming generation that will lead in our society. 
 
It is unfortunate that we do not hear about student's like Ms. Hillyard's class everyday.  If anyone is worried about whether or not our future generations will take the torch and lead, one only has to observe these students from Winter Park High School to be inspired.  They should be honored for this accomplishment and feel proud as ambassadors for young people all over the world.  These young people are who we should hear about everyday in our televisions, magazines, and movies.  They deserve the recognition for their hard work.  I want all young people reading this to know that you are important in our world and are making a significant contribution everyday.  To the Winter Park High School students and all young people, continue to be shining S.T.A.R.S.
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Five Things Young People Have No Business Doing
 
1.) You have no business playing mommy or daddy telling your parents what to do.  You are not the adult and do not pay the bills in the house.  You can disagree respectfully with some of their rules or policies, but you have no business fighting, yelling, demanding or disrespecting them.  Your parents are responsible for you and have legal authority over you until you are of legal age.  Even when you leave home always respect them.  Hint: Want good kids when you grow up?  Be one! 
 
2.) You have no business doing, experimenting or hanging around someone who does drugs.  Number one, it is illegal and number two, you will fall flat on your face if you get hooked.  Don't play with fire because once you are reeled in it is a long road back.  You can lose everything like your family, friends, job, and health.  You have no business here because business is closed for drugs. 
 
3.) Having ### before marriage is quite popular today and considered old fashioned if you don't do it.  But one thing has to be made clear, you are taking a huge risk as a teenager having ###.  It is incredibly easy to become pregnant because of how fertile both parties are in the teen years.  Remember this important fact:  A baby will be with you for eighteen years.  Once you are pregnant or father that child you are responsible for that child for eighteen years or more.  Diseases are also spreading like wildfire and there is only one way you can get them.  Focus on your studies and your future and leave this lesson for last. 
 
4.) You have no business hurting other people by either making fun or bullying them.  Who are you to rank or pick on someone else?  You are not perfect and also have plenty you can be picked on.  Be mindful of this important law in the universe: "What comes around goes around"  Stick to the golden rule and do to others as you would have them do to you. 
 
5.) What is up with disrespecting adults?  You have no business disrespecting your teachers, police officers, senior citizens, even the janitor or substitute teacher.  Be a good sport and a person that is coachable and teachable.  You don't know it all and are just starting out in life.  You will have your day when you will be able to make your own desicions, but in the mean time make sure all of your business in life is done right. 
 
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Pay Attention To The Directions
 
What do stop, yield, do not enter, one way, danger, railroad crossing, slow down, caution all have in common?  These are all signs that a driver relies on and follows to keep him or her safe.  They are also mandatory rules put in place that are required for every driver to adhere to by law.  These signs are important because they direct, protect and help us during our journey driving.  Not following these signs when you're driving can and will always end up with consequences.  These signs play an important purpose for every person on the road.  You can defy or ignore them some of the time and get away with it, but eventually someone will get hurt for not listening. 
 
The same is true for the rules of life.  There are many signs, red flags or warnings we receive throughout our journey in life.  The adults in our lives are the ones putting the directions and signs for now.  In the future however you will have to decide if you are going to obey and follow directions.  The danger for young people is not paying attention and taking a risk similar to a driver taking a risk and not stopping at a stop sign.  Sooner or later there are consequences. 
 
Be vigilant and follow the rules and directions put in place at your home, school and community.  Right now you are basically practicing and training to become an adult.  Learn  the right way to follow directions now instead of taking risks and hurting yourself or someone else later.  Get it right while you are young so that later you can avoid getting on a collison course.  Just like in driving, if it says stop or danger, one way, or do not enter, follow the rules the first time and you will prevent an accident in your life. 
 
Interviewing Skills For Your Job Interview
 
In case someone hasn't already told you most of you will have to work to pay your expenses.  Expenses like college books, meals, rent, car loans, insurance, cell phones, clothing, entertainment, and much more.  Have you given it much thought?  Unless you inherit money, are already rich, or plan to be your own boss, you will have to work.  But don't let the thought of working scare you.  What is important is to be prepared when you begin the job search. 
 
The traditional way to land a job is to interview with a manager or supervisor of a company.  There are things you need to know before you meet with the person interviewing you.  You have to go in prepared because remember there are probably fifty people waiting in line for that same job.  What you do in the interview and the impression you leave can make the difference between getting hired or continuing your search.  The six most dreaded words after a job interview are "don't call us we'll call you", which means their still looking.
 
The first step is to put together a resume or portfolio.  Both should describe all you've done in school (grades, sports, clubs positions held), and should be your selling point.  You want to show the other person that you have skills in teamwork, leadership, following directions, discipline, punctuality, communication and that you are a finisher.  Your portfolio should be concise and easy to understand.  You want to put as much information that will sell you as a good employee. 
 
Next step is to dress professionally.  Avoid overly stylish clothing or makeup and defintely do not show up (girls) with mini skirts or (boys) with your pants below your waist advertising your Hilfigers and your cap to the side.  You are trying to make a statement about who you are and you will only have minutes to do it.  Carry yourself with confidence and be prepared to answer questions. 
 
In this step of answering questions even if you feel nervous, don't mention that you are and try your best to stay composed.  Try to find someone (teacher, parent, or a friend) who can role play with you.  Have them sit behind a desk and dress the part and play the part as if you are at an interview.  Doing a simulation really helps you for when the real thing happens.  Pay attention to your body language, your hands, and very important, your eye contact.  Try to avoid looking down, away or to the side.  The idea is to look natural, which means you don't have to stare either. 
 
The last step is to have a strong list of references ready.  Teachers are always a good reference as well as coaches and pastors.  Provide a brief list of responsibilities you handled as well their contact information.  Even if you've never worked before you can still list accomplishments in school.  There are a lot of things you can list if you are creative.  Things like: Were you on time to class?  Did you have a good discipline record? Did you win awards? Did you volunteer?  Be creative and again, sell yourself as the best person for the job. 
 
Good luck and even if you are not planning to work yet, you can start to think about all these steps for the future.  Sooner or later you will have to, why not now?  Good luck!
 
 
Using Sports, Music and the Arts As An Outlet
 
Today's young people are faced with more pressures than any other generation.  They are having to deal with things in life that even adults find challenging.  One of the best things that earlier generations had that served as an outlet was sports, music and the arts.  Teens need to relax a little and enjoy the easier and finer things life has to offer.  Although hard work is good and taking on responsibility is a character builder it is important to not let your youth slip away. 
 
Today's teens need to take time to just be young and not worry or carry the world's problems on their backs.  Sports, music and the arts are a great way to escape and find comfort.  These are healthy alternatives with good side effects.  They all provide lessons that can be applied to real life and are a way of finding an outlet.  Sports, music and the arts are great alternatives to some of the things teens are being introduced to today.  If all three appeal to you that is even better, however if you want to start out with just one hobby, go for it!  You will be glad you did and will have an outlet to express your feelings. 
 
Three Simple Rules For Life
 
1.) Work Like You Don't Need Money
An important lesson in life about money: it can't buy you love, happiness, or wealth.  Think of all the people in the world who have it and are trying to buy it.  It is one of those thing life gives you for free.  It is up to us what we do with it.  Find something you love to do with all your heart and do it with passion.  You will work like you don't need the money and will see the money come flowing in. 
 
2.) Love Like You've Never Been Hurt
Love is always a risk because we never know how people will treat us when we love with all our hearts.  No matter what you've been through in life continue to love even those who have hurt you.  Love can heal all and love conquers all.  Don't worry about getting hurt again, but instead love again. 
 
3.) Dance Like No One's Watching
To dance like no one's watching means to live life the way a child plays.  Children don't worry about things around them.  They are consumed with the here and now.  If you're always looking over your shoulder wondering what people think you will miss the moment.  Enjoy life, let go, be yourself, and don't worry about what people think.  Dance like no one's watching and you'll never know who will join you. 
 
In Case No One Ever Told You...
 
In case no one ever told you, everything you do today will effect you tomorrow.  In case no one ever told you, you are responsible for your actions.  You are now responsible for the decisons you make when your parents are not around.  You don't have to do what everyone else is doing because you have a strong mind.
 
You will be successful in life and will be someone.  Your dreams will come true if you work hard and set your sights on your goals.  You will make it and you will grow up to be someone important.  In case no one ever told you, you are someone who is very special. 
 
Wisdom is the Secret to Success
 
Many young people will be fooled as they are growing up into thinking that money, fame, popularity and material things will make them successful and happy.  The fact is there are plenty of people with those things who are miserable and are not really successful.  Money and all the treasures in the world can't find you wisdom if you don't have it or use it. 
 
A wise college professor once said that there are many educated people with knowledge, but few with wisdom.  The truth is, wisdom can save you from lots of heartache and pain.  In every area of life you need wisdom.  Whether it is about school, relationships, work or life, wisdom is the secret to success.  Having knowledge alone is not enough.  You have to put that knowlegde into action for it to be considered wisdom.  In other words, put what you know into action and you will be wise.  For every decision you make in life always apply wisdom and you will have found the secret to success. 
 
For Every Action There is a Reaction
 
As young people grow up they are going to find out that some things are in their control and some things are out of their control.  What is important to know is that no matter what goes on around you, it is your reaction to a situation that will help you be in or out of control.  No one can make you do or say anything you don't allow.
 
It is important to keep track of your reaction to people and things that happen around you and know that you can always make the right decision on how to react.  If someone tries to argue or fight you don't have to react to that person in the same way.  If someone pressures you to try smoking cigarettes or experiment with drugs you don't have to give in. 
 
Teens need to know that they are in control and don't have to react in a negative way to the things around them.  Young people are very capable of making sound decisions.  The key is to act rather than react in the right way.  Always do what is right and always ask an adult if you are not sure about something in life.  That adult can be a parent, teacher, mentor, priest, or coach.  Just as you will learn in physics that what goes up must come down, the same principle holds true for every action there is a reaction good or bad.  You have to choose which one is the best course of action. 
 
What does your portfolio say about you?
 
If you were to go to college to tomorrow, or go on a job interview, what would your resume say about you?  Would you have good enough grades?  Would you have a clean record with the law?  Would teachers and friends say nice things about you?  Would you be able to get on a sports team? And finally, would you be proud of your accomplishments? 
 
These are simple questions that young people don't think about everyday, however, everyday you are in school is a chance to build on your portfolio.  Everything you do in school and in the community is an opportunity to develop a strong case for yourself.  Most young people don't realize the competition that awaits them once they get out of school.  For any sport you tryout for, college or job you are apply for there will be fifty to a hundred people vying for the same position.
 
In today's competitive world you must have an edge over your competitor.  You must have good grades, be in good shape, stay drug-free, and have a clean record.  If a coach or employer ask you "why should I put you on the team or hire you?"  You can respond by saying "look at my portfolio it speaks for itself."
 
Take the time today to do right and not waste your time making someone else popular.  Take the time to build your resume and think about the future.  One thing that is certain is that it is coming.  Staying focused on building your portfolio will help prevent you from putting something on that portfolio that will cause you harm.  Start contributing today and you'll be surprised how much you'll have tomorrow. 
 
Believe it or not, You are a role model
 
Charles Barkley a NBA basketball player always stated that he was not a role model but just an athlete.  He would tell the people in the media to leave him alone with all this role model stuff, but what he did not realize is that the minute he stepped out of his house and into the public eye he was being watched.
 
The same applies to teens.  There are many younger kids who are looking at you and checking out your behavior whether you want them to or not.  It can be a younger brother, sister, cousin, neighbor, or a student in school.  You can be a a good role model by the choices you make or you can decide you don't want any part and act the way you want.  No matter what you decide people are still looking.
 
Today be a postive role model and always pretend as if people are always looking.  By doing this you will always be careful of your behavior and decisions. 
 
Ladies & Gentlemen
 
Whether you know it or not you are growing up to be women and men.  The question is, are you going to grow up as a lady and for the boys as a gentleman?  Everything you are doing now will determine whether you are or not.  Everyday you are learning new habits and are developing your peronsality and behavior.  What we practice we become.
 
How can you be a lady or gentleman?  Let's start with the ladies.  Your dress code will play a big part in how people see you.  If you are trying to look like Madonna, Brittnay Spears or Christina, forget about it.  What you wear says a lot about you and what you stand for.  Not being respected by the boys? Dress appropriately and you should not have a problem being looked at as a lady.
 
Next, the way you speak.  If you are using curse words, street slang, or sounding aggressive, that may hurt your image.  Your actions also say a lot about you as a lady.  How you carry yourself around other boys speaks volumes about you.  Demand respect, make people earn your trust, and be sophisticated in all you do.  Try using these simple suggestions and you may find a handsome young man holding a door open for you. 
 
Now for the boys.  The most important trait that will define you as a man is your actions.  The way you behave, the ability to be trusted, carry out what you say you will do, and the way you respond to others will determine whether people see you as a mama's boy or a real man. 
 
Your dress code is equally important.  There is a saying in the business world that if you want respect you have to wear it.  Try dressing sharp with a shirt and tie and see how people treat you, and dress with your jeans below your bottom with a T-shirt, you won't believe the difference. 
 
The next thing that is critical and I mean extremely important is the way you treat your mom.  If you want to be a man treat your mom with the upmost respect.  Men who do that will rarely disrespect other women.  Men need to treat all women with dignity and honor.  Women are not an object and should be treated like the princesses they are.  Want to be a gentleman?  Start at home with mom, when you leave the house dress right, and when you're in public, act like one. 
 
Don't go there!
 
One of the biggest challenges you will have as a teenager is the temptation to experiment with drugs.  One simple piece of advice I have for you is Don't go there!  This will be the biggest mistake you will ever make in your life.  Remember, nothing good comes with drugs.  It is illegal, it will get you addicted, you can lose your family, you will lose your innocence, it will damage your brain, and you could become a dealer or worse be thrown in jail.
 
The best advice I can give you is Don't go there!  Despite what your friends say and despite what you think is cool, doing drugs is not cool.  It will land you in so much trouble that your future will be ruined.  Do what's right and walk away from people that do drugs.  Stay busy with sports, music, art, work, and friends, but whatever you do, when it comes to drugs...don't go there!
 
Are you an optimist or pessimist? 
 
Do you find yourself complaining a lot, saying life is not fair, always feeling that things don't go your way, or that things will never work out?  Do you always look at the negative side of people and things?  Or do you think that every situation has a solution, that life is fair, and things can workout with time.  Do you always look at the positive side of people and things? 
 
The first set of questions may mean you are a pessimist, always looking at the glass half empty, and thinking negatively.  On the other hand, if you find yourself answering more of the second set of questions, you are a optimist.  You see the glass half full in all situations.  You look for the positive things in people and life. 
 
To be an optimist you must see the good in everything and always believe there is a solution and a way out.  If you take the time to really think about a solution you may find yourself being an optimist.  Always stay positive, look for the good qualities in people and always give life a chance to show you the positive side of things no matter what. 
 
Fast is slow, slow is fast
 
This is an old Chinese Proverb that simply means that when we take things slow and seek meaning, importance, and time, things will get completed the right way.  When we try to rush things and want a solution right away without giving things thought or time, the outcome may not be what we want. 
 
We have a serious problem in America with this "fast" concept.  Americans have become extremely materialistic and want things now.  Without taking time to think about the consequences we as a society have moved away from the simple things.  This modern way of living has found its way with the youth as well.  Young people are being sold on doing things fast without giving reflection to the end result.
 
One area this can be seen with is young people rushing to growup, fall in love, be famous, be rich, and live the fast life.  One problem with rushing things and not learning from experience is that young people do not learn problem solving skills.  Going through tough times is what builds character, but rushing through them won't help you learn life's important lessons.  This is a serious problem with the youth because they are still learning and growing.  Young people do not know yet what life is about or what they really want and so when things get a little hard they crumble under pressure. We need trials to teach us about life. 
 
The next time you are tempted to rush through life, a relationship, or school, remember that before you know it the moment will be gone.  Slow down, take things easy, learn about yourself and all there is to know about what you are rushing through.  One thing for sure as you approach the age of 18 is that you won't be able to wait to get out, but the minute you leave and rush out, you will wish you could go back to the days of innocence.  Don't believe me? Ask any adult.  So my friend, listen to these words of wisdom from this Chinese Proverb, "Fast is slow, slow is fast". 
 
Don't Reinvent the Wheel
 
If I told you that for a car to run it needs four tires that are round would you believe me?  If I told you that because the tires are round you would get good gas mileage, a smoother ride and get to your destination faster, would you believe me?  And everytime I get into the car I can count on the tires everytime would you believe me? 
 
Then why is it that young people have to find out things the hard way?  With some young people no matter how many times I tell them that a round tire has been proven for decades to be better for a car, they want to put on a sqaure wheel.  The square wheel will damage the front end, make the ride a rough one probably messing up the front end, and you won't get to your destination as fast. 
 
If we take this same principle and apply it to real life it is easy to see that young people are reinventing the wheel.  Adults in your life (parents, teachers, coaches, relatives, etc) know about life and when they try to direct you or give you guidance do you ignore them and do things the hard way by reinventing the wheel?  The next time you have a question about life or if an adult is trying to give you advice, try to follow a system that works and has been proven already.  Remember the square wheel will work on the car, but not without consequences. 
 
Taking Responsibility for Yourself
 
Teens, if there is one thing you must learn as you grow up it is this: No matter what anyone else does or says, you are responsible for your own actions.  Never let someone else dictate to you what is right or wrong.  You need to know ahead of time what is right and what is wrong.  All the training you have received from your parents, teachers and adults in your life must now be put to the test and to action.  What you do today counts for tomorrow. 
 
If you take the letters (er) out of leader you have the word lead.  You must always lead yourself and know ahead of time what you will do and not do.  An important lesson teens need to know is that it is far better to follow the rules of society than the rules in jail.  Many teens forget that there are far more rules in jail than outside of jail. 
 
Do what is right no matter what and always take responsibility for your actions.  No one can make you do what you don't want to.  Take responsibility and you will be proud of your decisions and be successful in life. 
 
 
Do Not Judge Others
 
The following was written by a middle school student whose name has been omitted for confidentiality purposes.  This says it all. 
 
'Don't judge me if you haven't even spoken to me.  You haven't even said hello or asked me my name, yet you judge me.  You know nothing about my heart, thoughts, family, or life, yet you judge me.  You've taken one look and think you know me.  You see me everyday and know nothing about me, yet you think you know me.  I am in pain and my self-esteem is low, but instead I smile because I know you judge me.  I desperately need a friend to listen, but all I hear are false accusations about me.  Before you judge me or anyone else, listen first and speak last.  Ask me about me and who I am.  I may just open up to you and make you realize that I am just like you.  I may be the friend you always needed, yet you judge me'
 
How many times have you heard the saying "Do not judge a book by its cover"  What this cliche means is that some of the best books are those whose cover is worn, torn and looks outdated on the outside, but have great reading material inside.  If it looks used a lot it is because it has value and something good to say. 
 
The same can be said about people we don't know inside well, yet with one look we judge them.  The next time you talk behind someone's back or judge someone before you even speak to them, make sure you have all the facts about them, ask questions and be sure you know the truth.  If you have nothing positive to say about someone you are probably judging them. 
 
Growing Up Is A Process
 
Have you ever planted a small flower or a seed?  Whether it is a rose, a pumpkin, or a tree, you will never plant it one day and see it fully grown the next day.  It takes time for them to grow.  You have to water, cultivate, nurture and constantly watch over them if you want them to grow healthy.  If you are patient and gently let them sprout, they will grow to be beautiful symbols of life. 
 
The same is true for you as a young person.  For many teens growing up seems scary.  They are beginning to hear a lot about life and hear adults telling them it is time to grow up.  You are changing and growing, but that does not mean you have to rush things.  Like the seed planted, growing slowly into a fully bloomed flower, you too must be patient and know that you too will bloom into a beautiful person.  Growing up is a process.  Be easy on yourself, take care of yourself and know that with time you too will be standing tall with your unique colors. 
 
What Are You Doing This Summer?
 
With summer vacation approaching many teens will be involved in camps, summer school, part-time work, or traveling.  For some young people however they may not be doing anything exciting for the summer, which can be trouble if they are bored. 
 
To stay active, positive and out of trouble try to have a schedule from the morning till you go to bed.  In the morning you can exercise or do yard work.  Maybe you can volunteer or help a relative or older person.  Hospitals love visitors. 
 
Stay in touch with one or two good friends to keep you out of trouble.  If both parents work keep in touch with a relative.  Try to avoid being on the computer all the time or in front of the T.V.  Instead work on your courses you are going to take next school year.  Keep a journal and write in it daily.  What is important is that you have a routine and some kind of busy plan so that you are not easily swayed into something out of boredom.  Remember, it is always your responsibility to do right. 
 
Choosing Friends Wisely
 
I ask a lot of kids in school how many friends they have and they always tell me they have lots.  They say they have lots of friends from school and from their neighborhood.  Why don't I clear up the difference between the two.  An acquaintance is someone who we spend time with, sometimes share, and talk with, and even open up to.  An acquaintance is someone we know but haven't gotten to know very well.  That person knows us from the surface.  We may see them everyday but they really don't know our hearts.  The minute a problem occurs in our lives they may not be there for us or even judge us.  They are not involved in our lives that deeply so they only know us from what they see on the surface.
 
A friend is someone who knows all about us and still is willing to accept us.  They want to be around and support you unconditionally.  In other words, no matter what character faults you have they will still be there for you.  A true friend will be there when the going gets tough, but acquaintances will split the minute you need them. 
 
The next time someone asks you how may friends you have, think about it, and remember to separate your friends from acquaintances.  You may suprised to find out you have many acquaintances, but fewer "real" friends. 
 
 
Honor Your Parents
 
Whether you agree with your parents or not, your responsibility is to always honor and respect them.  Whether they are model parents or have some problems themselves, it remains your duty to always do right by them.  You may not like some of the rules in the house or the way they live, but no matter what, honor them.  In other words, love them, respect them, and definitely do not leave from under their care.  They are responsible for your well-being.  And remember teens, adults are human and are not perfect.  Communicate with them and tell them "Thank You" for all they do!
 
Don't forget to enjoy life
 
In today's fast paced world for teens it is easy for a young person to get caught up with adult responsibilities and forget to live like a teenager should.  Many times we are not sure how to do that because we're not kids anymore, but yet, we aren't legal adults either.  So what is a young person to do? 
 
My recommendation is to have a balance between school, friends, church, and pure innocent playtime.  When I refer to playtime I mean doing things that are innocent and without any peer pressure.  Things like nature walks, rollerblading, volunteering, going for bike rides, people watching, enjoying your favorite hobby, music, singing, sports and so on. 
 
There will come a day when you won't have the luxury to do whatever you want at any time.  Your day will eventually be filled with extraordinary tasks and responsibilities, however until that time comes, be sure to do your chores and begin building good habits of taking repsonsibility at home. But for now be a teenager!  Enjoy life.  Don't take things so seriously, relax and let yourself be a young person with no cares in the world.  The key is to enjoy this phase because before you know it you won't have time for anything as an adult.
 
I recently tried what I am recommending to you and took one day to forget my responsibilities.  Here is how my day went: Went to Daytona Beach, played with my 3 year old in the sand for two hours, feed the seagulls, went jogging on the beach, met some foolks from Canada and spoke to them while the sun was setting.  After the beach went to Downtown Disney and had a ball playing with my son and family there.  Stopped for ice cream at Mickey D's and then went home feeling like there wasn't a care in the world.  I felt like a teenager again.  Do you get the idea now, teens?