Are you a teacher or parent-teacher who wants to inspire the teens you influence to write? Here’s the “Note from Joy” section of the latest release in the Legacy Series:
My teen years are long behind me, but they continue to impact my life. Someone will say, “Do you remember when you. . .” And there I am – smack-dab in the middle of a hazy-edged memory that might involve mini-skirts, The Monkees, hip-huggers, transistor radios, 8-track tapes, Starsky & Hutch, the war in Vietnam , and my first car (a 1970 Chevrolet Impala, metal-flake blue, with a vinyl roof, and an 8-track player).
The adults in my life may have suspected there was more to me, and I confided in them, but I didn’t share my secret dreams, opinions, questions, and fears. I poured them into notebooks.
The grown-ups I loved knew the me I let them see.
Sadly, at least to me, I threw those tattered spiral notebooks away thinking they were worthless. I was wrong. I wish I could read the words I wrote at 15 now, at age 54. I know some of the things that were on my mind, but they are filtered through my adult experience – which changes them. People older than me call this looking back through rose-colored glasses.
What I know now changes how I see who I was then.
The teens in your life have the opportunity to keep their memories, in the words they use now, and you can help them. As their teacher, parent who teaches, or an adult who influences them, you have the extreme privilege of letting them know how valuable you believe their thoughts, ideas, dreams, opinions, and words are. Even if you never read a word they write, you are one of their first fans.
One way to help them know who they are is to remember who you were.
If that scares you, you belong to a large, non-exclusive group of adults who love the kids in their lives, but who never want them to know about their mistakes. Our less than stellar decisions, mistakes, embarrassing moments, and long-term consequences might be the most powerful lessons we can teach. What do you wish someone taught you?
Take a look at the teenagers in your classroom, home, or life. Remember your dreams, what you loved, hated, believed in, wished you knew, and were afraid of. Yours may be different than the kids in your life today, but yours mattered and so do theirs. By encouraging them, and in some cases requiring them, to write their stories, you validate them. This isn’t the same as giving them your stamp of approval – it’s you saying that right or wrong, they are unique and priceless.
Are you ready to help the teens in your sphere of influence embark on the journey that is their lives?
Let the adventure begin,