My Letter to You
To the Teens of the World,
When I graduated from high school, I gave a speech at my graduation ceremony. The topic I chose was “Decisions.” I have lived my whole life with the conviction that YOU are important, YOUR FUTURE is important, and YOU need to feel that right down to your bones. Whether you feel that right now or not–whether or not you hold that as a personal conviction of your own – one thing will serve you well, the DESIRE to make wise decisions.
You have heard many times that your decisions affect your future. Trouble is, whether you want to believe it or not, that’s true–your decisions now DO affect your future. And they affect other people around you. Have fun!! Have a great life–always knowing that your future IS coming and it belongs to YOU!
When you do something, it is because YOU decided to do it. It is important to KNOW that every action always has consequences. Consequences do not depend on whether other people know what you did. Consequences are “what comes next,” after you do something, whether that happens immediately or takes awhile. Whether good or bad, there are always consequences. Whether you realize it at the time or not, there are always consequences. Something ALWAYS follows a decision made or an action taken. Sometimes it’s big (huge). Sometimes it’s just how you feel inside–some kind of “downer” feeling or a feeling that is “uplifting.” Something ALWAYS follows. Somehow, some way, what you do affects you. And what you do affects other people also–whether it’s someone close to you or an absolute stranger (and if it is a stranger, you may never know the consequences of your decision).
If you do something because “everyone else is doing it,” (which, by the way, is never true. There is NOTHING, EVER, that “EVERYONE else is doing.”) you have decided, in your own head, that you are going to do that particular thing. BEFORE you do it, it is good to stop and think, “What are the consequences? Is this going to be good or bad for me, for my life going forward, for other people in my life?” Remember, “rebelling” doesn’t mean that one is “thinking for oneself.” It often means that one is “following the crowd.”
If you are in a situation where you make a decision that is the same decision your parents would make for you, if they could, it is still YOUR OWN decision–and don’t let any of your friends tell you it’s not. It’s true that there are times when it is beneficial to “blame” your parents–to tell your friends that you are going to do (or avoid!) a certain action because of consequences that your parents will be quick to impose on you. But have the strength of mind to know that YOU, in your own head, are making THAT decision.
If, when you have a big decision to make (or even a small one, really), you consider all of your choices (“I could decide to do this or that or that or that.”) and you think of all the consequences that you can imagine that may occur with each of those choices, and weigh what kind of impact (the positive and the negative) that those consequences will have on YOU, your FUTURE, and THOSE AROUND YOU, and you strive to aim toward the positive, then you are on your way toward making wise decisions. If you do this every time a decision comes up, it becomes easier and easier and then becomes automatic. You become a person of strong convictions. You affect yourself and your future for good. You affect those around you for good.
The future of the world really does depend on it.*
With high regard for YOU,
2 Actual eyes®
*Each of you teens has an individual future. Mix all of those futures together and it IS the future of the world. Your desire to make wise decisions MATTERS.
©JoAnne Kollross Woleben