Letter to teenagers

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Dear Teen:

Dear Teenager:

It is really possible to become a fully functioning adult without:

• Rejecting your parents’ deeply treasured and tested values;

• Resorting to the use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco products;

• Resisting correction from those who are more experienced than you are;

• Replying with monosyllabic grunts when you are asked about your day or to help around the house;

• Rebelling.

You probably will reach adult age and be less than functional if you:

• Resist work and are given everything you need without having to earn it;

• Spend significant amounts of time on your phone and on social media;

• Demand things from your parents that you could earn yourself;

• Develop a secret life, one that you have to hide from your parents;

• Expect your parents to step in on your behalf if you’ve not met expectations at school and are made accountable for it.

Yes – you are right. Your parents and your teachers often make mistakes and imperfect adults surround you. Nonetheless, your keys to success will emerge, not through rebellion, but through hard work, remaining connected to those who have loved you your entire life, and by being open to learning from the adults who, despite their failings, remain committed to your magnificent future.

Rod Smith

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