Being fourteen has it’s challenges! This blog is for our granddaughter who is a freshman in high school.
I recall being rather grim and grumpy as a young teenager. Even though no major problems plagued me beyond straight hair, small boobs, and a few pimples, I felt gloomy much of the time. Let’s face it: teens don’t need a major reason to feel downcast. All those hormonal changes create havoc in anyone’s young life. As I reflected about my younger self, I suddenly recalled hearing the bell ring at school and clamoring into the hall. Hustle and bustle — everyone hurrying to find lockers, change books and get to another class. Mixed into the oncoming crowd, I saw Sally. Beaming with a big smile, Sally greeted everyone she knew — and she knew almost everyone.
Each day, I looked forward to seeing Sally’s big smile. I learned a lot from watching her give pleasure to her peers. Years later, as an adult, Sally shared that despite appearances, not everything was picture perfect in her home. No one would have guessed a hint of pain or stress by meeting young Sally.
Sometimes, you “fake it till you make it.” Although I want you to be authentic, I also know that at times, you need to put on a smile, acquire an attitudinal adjustment, and focus on the needs of others. When you realize that every teenager you pass in the halls struggles with some issue, you understand that you have a job to do. That job includes offering a tiny spark of happiness to every single teen you meet.
I’m not asking for major heroics. Looking someone in the eye, saying the person’s name, and smiling will make important contributions to your peers. When you remember that others walk around with their own insecurities, you can muster the courage to extend yourself. By doing so, you not only help other teenagers, you also strengthen your own self-image.
The same truth goes for your parents. No parent exists who does not suffer from insecurities from time to time. Assuming responsibility for a child or teenager, means accepting an enormous responsibility. Scary business! While reminiscing about her own teen years, your Aunt Joy recently stated, “Be good to your parents. You may need them someday.”
The bottom line encourages, “Be good to all those you meet in the halls of school or in the halls of your home. No one gets through life without enduring some pain.” Our purpose then, must be to love, accept, and encourage one another. My young friend Sally left a wake of smiles in her path. Even today, Sally continues her commitment to spread happiness. Your own work begins today.