Essay:Best Concepts to Teach Teenagers

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Suppose you had just five new principles to teach a teenager. Which would you teach?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Everything has an opportunity cost (e.g., watching television is expensive)
  2. Liberal values have destructive personal consequences (e.g., Hollywood Values)
  3. There is more deceit in the world than you expect
  4. Trying an addictive activity is like stepping on a slippery slope: you may be unable to save yourself from destruction
  5. If you are with someone who commits a crime, the law may hold you fully responsible
  6. Bad ideas will be suggested to you by nearly everyone, including yourself, but a bad idea will never come from both your parents
  7. Much of our behavior is governed by habits. It is therefore critical to consciously cultivate good habits, and to work to overcome bad habits. Good habits don't just happen.
  8. Resist peer pressure to do things which conflict with the values your family and church taught you. Would you rather be a sheep or a shepherd?
  9. It is fine to say No: say No to temptation, to illegal drugs, to underage drinking and tobacco usage, to crime, to pre-marital sex and indecent behaviour.
  10. Pre-marital virginity isn't 'square' or boring. It's cool to keep yourself for 'the one'.
  11. You are the master of your bodily impulses, and not vice-versa.
  12. You might think it's fun to make decisions. But if you make a decision and you decide incorrectly then it’s your fault. Your friends told you? Your fault. Your government told you? Your fault. Your spouse told you? Your fault. I told you? Still your fault. Welcome to responsibility.
  13. It is OK to ask for help. Particularly from your parents as they are there to guide you.
  14. Most adults turn to prayer in times of need. It's not any easier being a teenager than an adult, and prayer is available for your benefit. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're above it. Even if the prayer does not work, it may give you some peace of mind.
  15. It is not winning, but being able to take part and give it your best that is most important.
  16. Freedom is not free. It carries a tremendous cost. In the case of the United States, that cost has been paid by patriots willing to lay down their lives. These patriots (living and dead) are deserving of our respect.
  17. While it is fine to have fun, remember that studying and learning ways to become a mature and well-rounded person are much more important. By learning new things, you become more fun to talk to!
  18. Never take that last piece of cake on the plate. It applies to life too.
  19. Love your neighbor as yourself. Who is your neighbor? Everyone, even those that you consider to be your enemy. What is love? Love is care and kindness. See the Good Samaritan.
  20. Remember that respect and trust are not given. You must earn them through honesty, integrity and compassion.
  21. Learn to appreciate the importance of listening in a conversation, and not just talking. This especially applies to conversations with your parents.
  22. Your character is defined more by what you do when no one is watching than what you do when they are.
  23. Few things define your character like the way you keep a promise.
  24. Learn to use the power of interest to build your wealth (by saving early and often) instead of destroying it (by incurring unnecessary debt).
  25. Learn the value of redundancy, and anticipate failure for unexpected reasons and have an alternative route or means to your goal.
  26. Develop a "thick skin" to mockery, ridicule and rejection and you will achieve much of great value. Good salesmen are not born to handle rejection; they are made.
  27. Develop a work ethic like those who accomplished much for our nation and the world, such as Thomas Edison.
  28. Virtue is what you do when nobody is looking. You should do what's right because it's right, not because you want praise. You should avoid doing wrong because it's wrong, not because you're afraid of getting caught.
  29. As long as they are well-intentioned and not corrupt, it is AOK to put your trust in police officers, spies, church officials, school staff members, and other people of authority. They are to be respected and not feared, but don't think of them as your "personal army" or whatnot. All good ones are not bullies, nor are they necessarily pushovers. As long as you're following the rules or laws, everything should be just fine between you and them.
  30. Doing the right thing is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about.