Words of Wisdom for a Teen

Our 2nd son recently turned 13.

His birthday ends our party ride of 4 family birthdays in 17 days. (Are you sick of my birthday posts yet? Hope not, they celebrate LIFE.)

When our oldest turned 13 we decided to ask relatives, friends and other teens to write a note and send it to me and I would compile them into a Words of Wisdom book that he could refer to as he travelled into manhood, recognizing that this milestone was a rite of passage.

These were the ideas that I hoped would help them in deciding what to write:

  •  share the best advice they had received in life
  •  share some favorite quotes
  •  share advise they would give
  •  share what to enjoy about being a teen/man and even what to look out for
  •  share a personal story 

To have a tangible reminder of all those who are meaningful in his life expressing their well wishes was a warm, supportive and memorable way for him to enter the teens year.

When I received these back I printed them out on nice paper and slide them into clear plastic protectors and put them in a leather 3 ring binder. It's on the bookshelf by their beds to refer to.

In the generosity so typical of our loved ones, once again the inspiration poured in....

Grandparents wrote,

"smile a lot...don't become a phony...never pick your nose in public"

"when you show kindness you lead others to higher ground...listen to learn"

"think about life as climbing a ladder and God and heaven are at the top of that ladder"

Cousins wrote,

"do good things"

"whenever you get a chance, make someones day"

Godparents wrote,

"lots to explore and learn"

"eat good food...play a lot... learn everything you can... wear cool shoes"

Older Brother wrote,

"it is our duty as teens to change people's opinions of teens as messy and irresponsible....try to do everything that challenges you, don't give up"

Aunts & Uncles wrote,

"bad news can be overcome with the right attitude and never-quit determination....you can not be happy and successful without God's help...communicate with Him on a regular basis."

"you're never too old to hug and kiss your mom and dad"

"it's the life in your years that count"

"enjoy your youth"

"be the first to extend the hand of friendship and hospitality...view books as friends...that a kind word is a gift....never be afraid of making a mistake..."

"treat parents and grandparents with respect...open doors for ladies....say please and thank you...ask people about themselves....don't complain about chores...spend a day staring at the ground and a night staring at the stars...write...volunteer..."

"life will give you as much or as little as your standards demand of it...who you hang out with is who you become so look to peers that pull you up...don't fall victim to soft language like "good enough"...view problems as a gift to make you stronger..."

"live life to the fullest *staying in grace*"

Relatives wrote,
"keep your words soft and sweet - just in case you have to eat them!"

Adult friends from our Parish wrote,

"choose your career as carefully as you would choose a wife or friend"

"keep your heart for the woman that God has already chosen for you, and be alert in case God is calling you for His service as a priest"

"keep reading"

"your faith is your greatest blessing, for it is the path to salvation"

Teen friends wrote,

"Be an example to ones younger than you"

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We are grateful for their time and kindness in turning these words into a treasure.  This is a project that I believe requires a thank you note. That adds a bit of work, but the silver lining to that is that it engages your teen in creating a new and individual relationship with these adults. For each note of thanks I asked my sons to relate back their favorite part of the persons note and that ensured that my sons had fully considered the words of each letter.

And now...for the Day in the Life Video...are you ready to rock out?

Do you have any advice to share? Leave a comment and thank you!


Beth A Slater said...

Your parents will always be smarter than you.
~from the mother of two teens

Dawn said...

Very cool. I wanted to do this for my 16 year old, but failed to get it done on time. There is always 17!

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