Yes, they desperately need to listen, hear it, and DO IT, but Teens are not the only ones that could benefit from this message. I am referring to this image of a news article floating around Facebook that is supposedly “Words for teenagers” from a New Zealand Juvenile Court Judge. There is also a posting of these words on this blog and in the comments someone provides a link to what appears to be the original from a Juvenile Court Judge from Denver printed in a Dear Abby column. Regardless of who first wrote these words, they are spot on and need to be spread. And spread to all: teens, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, hell I know a few 40,50,60-somethings that could really use this message. Here is how it was written in the Dear Abby article: (with a little added typographical emphasis)
“Always we hear the plaintive cry of the teenager: What can we do?…Where can we go? The answer is, GO HOME!
Hang the storm windows, paint the woodwork. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, shovel the walk. Wash the car, learn to cook, scrub some floors. Repair the sink, build a boat, GET A JOB!
Help the priest, minister or Rabbi, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army. Visit the sick, assist the poor, study your lessons. And then when you are through – and not too tired -READ A BOOK!
Your parents DO NOT OWE you entertainment. Your city or village DOES NOT OWE you a living. You OWE THE WORLD something. You owe it your time and energy and your talents so that no one will be at war or in poverty or sick or lonely again.
In plain, simple words, GROW UP; quit being a crybaby. Get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone, and start acting like an adult.
You’re supposed to be mature enough to accept some of the responsibility your parents have carried for years. They have nursed, protected, helped, appealed, begged, excused, tolerated, and denied themselves of needed comforts so that you could have every benefit. This they have done gladly, for you are their dearest treasure. But now, you have no right to expect them to bow to your every whim and fancy just because SELFISH EGO, instead of common sense, dominates your personality, thinking, and requests!
IN HEAVEN’S NAME, GROW UP AND GO HOME!”
Now the overarching message here is spot on, but I would edit a few pieces of it if it were my message. There are a few pieces I don’t completely agree with or feel need a bit more emphasis:
“GO HOME” – Since I believe this message is for all, not just teens, lets clarify “home” – No one owes you a home. And for the minors – the definition of home is a sanitary place that protects you from the elements; not some elaborate dwelling you most likely refuse to help maintain anyway. Be grateful for what you have, help maintain and protect what you have and stop expecting someone else to provide it for you. Unless you are reading this from a desolate desert in a third world country (which is doubtful) – someone, somewhere has it much worse than you and they are probably more grateful for what they do have than you are. It is fine to want and dream for more as long as you – yourself – are willing to work hard and EARN that “more!”
“Paint the woodwork” – Ummm, teens check with your parents before you go painting the woodwork. Everyone else, check with your wives. It will save you a lot of grief.
“Learn to cook” – And clean up after yourself when you are done!
“Build a boat” – Do you NEED a boat? If so, have at it. Otherwise, there are probably better things to do with your time.
“Help the priest, minister or rabbi, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army.” – Seems a bit limited – you could also help the priestess, imam, sensei, Manbo, or swami. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are fine but how about the local youth organization or food bank. Hell, how about just helping out your neighbor to start. No excuses – they are right next door!
“study your lessons” – Just wondered if anyone still calls them “lessons.” Do your homework (I know it sucks but DO IT), study for that test, learn a new skill, research that project you have been daydreaming about. “Compete with your current self to become your future self!”
“READ A BOOK” – When you are done with that book – READ ANOTHER BOOK, and another – journey to places through words you may never have a chance to physically visit or to places that may not even exist anyway other than through words. Learn, Read, Learn, and Read some more!
“Your parents DO NOT OWE you entertainment. Your city or village DOES NOT OWE you a living. You OWE THE WORLD something. You owe it your time and energy and your talents so that no one will be at war or in poverty or sick or lonely again.” – just felt that needed repeated!
“Get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone, and start acting like an adult.” – Last one. I really struggle with this line. I get the intention but lets face it – there are plenty of people “acting like adults” under the societal definition of “adult” that are causing many of the problems in this world. Never lose your dream world. It contains your dreams and your dreams may be exactly what stops war, poverty, sickness, or loneliness. Just remember that you are responsible for making your dreams come true. No one else can, will, or needs to do it for you. Keep your wishbone along with your backbone. Wishes create dreams and dreams create beauty. Never, never, never stop wishing and dreaming, but again realize YOU have to make it happen! As far as acting like an adult – unfortunately it really feels like that is synonymous with stale, judgmental, boring, elitist, and selfish. Start acting like the self motivated, self disciplined, independent, divine talented person that you are. Don’t expect anything from anyone, give all that you can, and always be grateful for what you have been given.
Your true entitlements are few and wonderful. You will find them in many nations constitutions or declarations although most of their governments have lost sight of them. You are entitled to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. That’s it and stop conveniently overlooking the part about “pursuit”. You are not entitled to happiness, you are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. To pursue something usually takes some effort on your part.
How are YOU going to start your pursuit today?