Teen Tuesday (late) – Back to School Rules to Live By!

I wrote this last year and posted it right before school started.  If you didn’t know, I teach freshman English.  I’m also a youth sponsor and have developed many relationships with teens.  My passion for teens is where this came from.  It encompasses pretty much everything I could think of that I wanted them to know.  Not just hear, but know.  Share it with teens you know if you’d like.  🙂



1.  HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOURSELF, even if no one else around you does.  Teachers and parents can give you the tools you need to succeed, but they can’t make you care.  Find some inner motivation.  If you have low expectations for yourself, you will never go above them.  Raise the bar.  Stretch yourself.  Take pride in your work and in your life.

2.  TRY SOMETHING NEW.  Don’t be afraid to try out for a sport, join a club, or befriend someone new.  Be bold and adventurous.  If you never step out of your comfort zone, life will be boring and you’ll miss out on all the wonderful experiences the world has to offer.

3.  KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE, no matter what classes you get, what teachers you get, who is or isn’t in your classes, how much work is thrown at you, or how unprepared you feel for the work and demands the teachers give you.

4.  DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOUR PEERS.  Everyone is unique.  Everyone is different.  This is the way it’s meant to be, and it’s a beautiful thing.  If anyone tries to tell you you’re not good enough, don’t listen.  If the media tries to tell you you need to change or buy something to fit in, be liked, look the part…don’t listen.  Know in your innermost being that you are attractive enough, smart enough, strong enough, outgoing enough, athletic enough, and talented enough for whatever you are meant to do in this life.  Follow your true purpose, and you will never find yourself lacking in anything.  It’s when you try to put yourself in situations that aren’t intended for you or try to be someone you aren’t meant to be that you find yourself inadequate.  Find your niche and flourish.

5.  DRESS MODESTLY.  Instead of spending so much time worrying about what others think of you, how you look, or attracting the opposite sex, focus on spending time on worthwhile things like school, friends, family, and all the other good things in life.  Worrying or being self-conscious never helped anybody.  Besides, dressing immodestly (girls) can keep guys from focusing on what they need to focus on and can give people the wrong impression or even ruin your reputation.

6.  BE SMART WITH SOCIAL MEDIA.  Everything you post on Facebook, send in a text, tweet, etc. is permanent and can’t be undone.  It is forever in cyberspace.  Someone’s already seen it.  The damage is done.  Be smart!  Sexting can go horribly wrong really fast and can ruin your reputation.  Cyber-bullying is cruel and can even end with someone committing suicide.  Think before you post or text anything.  Ask yourself these three questions: Is this the message I want to send about myself?  How could this backfire?  Will this hurt anyone?

7.  FIGURE OUT YOUR MORALS, STANDARDS, AND BELIEFS NOW.  Don’t wait until you’re in a moral dilemma to decide what your morals are.  Don’t wait to establish your standards until you’re stuck in a bad situation that could’ve been avoided.  Don’t wait until you’re asked a serious question you can’t answer to think about what you believe in.  If you don’t know where you stand, then you will surely fall.

8.  DON’T GIVE IN TO “NORMAL.” Just because something is seen as normal, doesn’t make it right.  Question everything.  Ask yourself if it goes with or against your morals, standards, and beliefs.  Weigh the benefits and the consequences and ask yourself if it’s worth it.  Don’t just go with the flow because everyone else is doing it or because it’s what you think is expected of you.  Negative trends need to be met with resistance.  Rebel against those trends.  Don’t be afraid to be different and stand up for what you believe in.

9.  BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE to those around you, especially to those without friends, new kids, different kids, and yes, even mean kids.  You never know how much of an impact you could have on someone simply by being kind to them, and that kindness can spread like wildfire.  Don’t be selfish, and don’t focus only on yourself.  Reach out.  Think about others.  Do things to help them.  You’d be surprised how good it feels.

10.  DREAM BIG ANYWAY!  No matter what your circumstances, your home life, your past, how rich or poor you are, how smart or not smart you think you are, if you’ve failed classes in the past, if you’ve made mistakes in the past, even if you feel like the whole word is against you, dream big anyway.  Make big goals for yourself and strive to achieve them.  You can do amazing things with your life.  Things that no one can fathom.  Think outside the limited box that others have constructed around you or that you have built around yourself.  Break out of that box.  Punch through its walls and watch the pieces as they shatter to the ground.  Boldly step out into the world with confidence.  Scan the horizon of limitless possibilities.  Take a deep breath of hope, and go make something of yourself.


~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on August 21, 2013.

One Response to “Teen Tuesday (late) – Back to School Rules to Live By!”

  1. Love these rules, Dusty! Wonderful guidelines for teens to live by! Cheers!

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