Not just another star in the sky

To get straight to the point, I have to ask, “Do you have any idea how valuable you are?”  From my experience with speaking with hundreds of teenagers, I have to tell you  “More than likely, you don’t.”  In fact, many people in general have no idea.

As for teenagers, you think you’re just like everyone else; just another star in the sky with no real purpose.  Honestly, it breaks my heart.

You’re so precious!  To me, and to the One who created you.  As simple as it sounds, you WERE created for a purpose.  You were created to help change the world in which you live.  If only everyone of you could grasp that concept the whole world would be taken by storm.  The whole world could change for the better.  It’s not a simple statement, it’s a fact!

Today, and even the days that follow,please, please think about how important you are.  Think about the change you represent.  I know that each and every teen I’ve met has been instrumental in changing my life for the better~ they’ve made me want to be a better person and have helped me see my destiny. So if you can can help change my life, how much more can you help change others?

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Make a Change!

I have to say, I hate when teenagers feel alone, misunderstood, pushed aside, and made fun of.  I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why other teens don’t step in and help, or worse, why some of them help contribute to the pain of others.

However, I do think that some don’t step in because they worry about what their friends will think, or maybe they’re just afraid or creeped out by the kid who’s the outcast.  As for the ones who help contribute, I think they must be so unhappy with their own lives that they have to take it out on others.  Or maybe it’s as simple as plain arrogance- thinking they’re better than the other.  Oh please!

I’d like to challenge you:  If you are the one who makes the problem worse for the other- if you tease, avoid, and tear down another, please don’t.   I beg you!  If you are one who doesn’t say “hi”, is ashamed to befriend, or ignores the problem, please don’t.  I beg of you also!

Please never underestimate the power you hold.  Never underestimate the power one smile can make in the life of another.  Don’t ignore your heart when it tells you to invite a lonely kid to your lunch table.  You can be the difference between life and death to that kid. 

YOU ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK IN THE LIFE OF ANOTHER!

What do you REALLY want?

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with teenagers one-on-one and in small groups, something I love to do due to their ability to be “real” and honest with me- mostly.

We talk about all kinds of things like family, self-esteem, dealing with gossip and more.  What do you think they feel is the greatest problem they face?

Peer-pressure.

Teens want to know how to deal with it.  They want to know how to get away from it.  They know that if they tell their friends “no” to something, then they’re be made fun of, talked about, or even shunned.  This, of course, tends to make them want to give in just so they can fit in.

I feel bad about that.  I know how it feels.  However, there was one thing that recently dawned on me.  Many times teens blame their friends for something they really want to do; they may not even realize it.

Take smoking pot for instance (one of the biggest deals to date).  Teens may start because a friend asked them to, but why don’t they stop?  Some say because of the peer-pressure, but let’s be honest- many don’t for the simple reason that they just don’t want to. What a revelation.  This changes everything.

I wonder: Do teenagers even realize this is the case?  Have they been blinded into thinking that it’s their friends fault?  Or is possible that they really do know that it’s just something they “want” to do and are using their friends as a cover?

If you or someone you know fits this description then I ask you to open your eyes.  I beg you to take your mask off and really look at yourself and why YOU chose to do what you do… don’t blame others anymore. 

This is YOUR life, now own it.

It does matter…

My parents divorced when I was almost 3.  My siblings and I stayed with my mom but my dad was still in our lives.  However, he’s now basically disappeared. 

He doesn’t visit or call.  I do get random emails but they don’t really say anything; it’s basically  just him asking questions to find a way out of paying support. When I email him just to update on my life and ask him questions, I get no response. I hate it, especially since he has a whole new family that he’s more than willing to support and spend time with —

I don’t want to speak for everyone who has been abandoned by their father or mother or sometimes both, but I think we pretend that it doesn’t matter and maybe for a time that’s the case. We pretend that we only need one parent. We pretend that friends are enough to fill that gap. We pretend that we’re strong enough to not need that love. However, deep down there’s emptiness. Some of us try to fill that emptiness with other things like drugs and alcohol, sleeping around, or becoming guarded and not letting anyone in.

That emptiness may not be acknowledged for years, but it’s there. It’s that desire to have a relationship, to know that parent who left. It’s doesn’t matter if the one who raised you gave you all the love and nourishment you could have asked for because you still know that your mom or dad isn’t there, whatever the circumstance.

That relationship does matter. And no amount of denial will change that.

Obviously every person’s situation is different, and maybe you’re better off without that parent. But speaking from my experience, don’t hide your feelings. For years, I told myself that it didn’t matter and that I was okay with out my dad. But now that I’m a little older and can look back at my situation, I realize that it did hurt and it still does. I’m confused, angry, and frustrated.

All you can do, is find someone to talk to; someone who can actually help you and mentor you, not someone you just vent to when you can’t handle your emotions. Personally, I hate talking about my feelings; I don’t like everyone knowing my business, but it helps A LOT!! Even if you just find that one person.

Instead of becoming bitter and angry at the world, I can move on with my life. One day maybe my dad will want to talk to me, but for now there isn’t anything I can do about it. That is his choice and I’m not going to sit here depressed and mad. So I choose to carry on, but I don’t ignore the hurt I feel, I deal with it by writing or talking with a mentor.

~Sheena, 19

Driven…

Very shortly after moving to the Reading area, Driven became a part of my life. It’s been over 5 years now. I had an unstable household and in my mind there was no out. It got to the point where I didn’t feel safe and I hated being there. That was my big issue, but only one of many. The founder of Driven, Melanie Holland became my life support. I felt loved, hopeful, and safe when I spent time talking with her and confronting my problems. She was someone I could confide in; I was understood and never judged.  Looking back at my situation, I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the help and support I received from Driven, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I feel like I have worth, like there is a bright future for me, and that I’m not defined by my past.

~Sheena, 19 years old