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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Check out TJED for Teens

We strongly recommend the new book Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens by Dr. Brooks and Dr. DeMille. We have been following leadership education for quite some time and we are so excited that they have just released this book especially for the youth.

Here are some quotes from the first chapter:

"We believe this generation of youth is the most gifted and promising generation ever... You have genius in you. We know it, and our purpose in writing this book is to help you find it... You were born with a great mission and purpose in this life... Your purpose is-find your true inner genius, develop it, polish it to levels of greatness and then use it to help the world."

You can order a copy of the book from the following link.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Youth Speak Out on Moral Issues

Kyle T – Age 17 – On Honesty

I used to have a major problem with honesty. I lied to everyone about everything. A while ago I hit the lowest place I have ever been, all because of a huge lie. With help from my friends and family I was able to bring myself up, and start enjoying life. I now know that if you are honest with everyone, your life will be better.

Rachel M. – Age 16 – On Accountability

I think youth need to be accountable for our actions because it helps us to learn from our mistakes and grow as a person. If we lived in a world without accountability we wouldn’t have any responsibilities and everything would just be chaotic.



Logan C. – Age 16 – On Individual Worth

A good sense of individual worth is very important because it shows that you have respect and a personal duty to go forth and accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself. It shows self confidence and also a want for self growth. Knowing ones individual worth is a key trait of the good and successful people of our time.


Terah L. – Age 16 – On Chastity

Chastity is a measure of how you feel about yourself. If you have confidence in yourself and feel you are of worth, you might not feel the need to break the law of chastity. Keep yourself pure so that every day you can look in the mirror and smile at the person you have become.



Colton G. – Age 15 – On Family Charity

When a conflict is occurring in a family, you should do everything in your power to fix it up as soon as possible. When you help family members or aid them in their life, you are being charitable.



Lindsey C. – Age 16 – On Leadership

Leadership is the ability to say the things that must be said to guide others and bring them up. Leadership is important to have because it helps keep us organized and focused.


John S. – Age 14 – On Overcoming Depression

Look at the brighter side of life. Listen to up beat and uplifting music. Write letters. Laugh. Spend time with your family. Give a compliment. Little things like that.


Esther B. – Age 16 – On Being the “Real You”

When I moved to my new school, I told myself I would do anything to be popular. When I met the popular kids, they all wore black and used foul language. Once I wore my favorite pink top to school and they told me never to wear it again. As soon as I got home, I hid it deep in my closet and soon I became just like them. Eventually I asked myself, “What am I doing?” After I decided to go back to my own style, my friends didn’t talk to me anymore. Today I have friends who love me for who I am, not how much I am like them.

Cody M. – Age 17 – On Music

The music we listen to sets the mood of the day. If we listen to angry music then we will have a not so good day. If we listen to positive, up beat music then our thoughts are more concentrated on what we ultimately want in our life.


Megan E. – Age 17 – On Life

My mission in life, I believe, is to make others happy. To be kind to everyone I meet.




Dustin W. – Age 15 – On Love

There is no love greater than the love inside a family. Love is the most honorable thing between people on this God-made earth.



Ashley M. – Age 15 – On Modesty

Modesty (or the lack thereof) doesn’t just affect you, but others around you, especially the young men. They need us women to watch how we dress so they won’t be tempted in any way. We can either motivate them or keep them from becoming the men we all want them to be. You need to be happy with who you are no matter what you wear.

Anonymous – On Substance Abuse

Drugs and alcohol were a big part of my life at one time. I wanted to stop I just wasn’t sure how. I was so afraid of what my friends would think. Then I moved to a small town, new state, where nobody knew anything about me. I got that chance. I made a choice and now I’m happy. I don’t do any sort of drugs and now I know how amazing life is sober.

Gary G. – Age 16 – On Anxiety

Anxiety can hit at anytime. One way I overcome its affects is to pour myself into a hobby. Hobbies can be an outlet to help you vent your feelings.



Caitlin T. – Age 16 – On Communication

To overcome problems that exist in my family I had to make a conscious decision to not only do my part, but to go above and beyond and help others in my family too. In addition, I began to really think about the things that I wanted to say before I said them.


Kory D. – Age 16 – On Education

Education is the foundation of our society today. Education is hard work and you have to really want it.



Aubrey J. – Age 17 – On Developing Talents

Developing talents can make us better people. The natural instinct of man is to progress in life and grow. By developing talents we can do just that.


Steven R. – Age 14 – On Family

To me, family is one of the most important things in the world. They are supportive and uplifting. They stand beside you when no one else will. They also encourage and love you in your best and hardest times. However, to gain this love, you must show it first.

Aubry T. – Age 16 – On Honesty

I remember when I was younger I would tell a little white lie. As I got older I would progress to getting worse and worse. I knew I shouldn’t be lying, but I never thought why. Eventually I learned the consequences of lying and how it just makes me not trustworthy. So I worked on it and got way better. I continue to work on it and am doing better every day.

Ben R. – Age 16 – On Friendship

Love is the most important thing we need to show daily. It brings us all closer to one another while also getting us closer to God. You can show love simply by talking to the kid who sits alone at lunch or is new. Invite others to join your friends in activities. Don’t be afraid to stand for others and be their friend. We are all on this earth together. Let’s work as a whole and be happy.

Trevor C. – Age 16 – On Patriotism

Without love and support for our country, we could lose our freedoms. I can be better at this by being thankful for my freedoms and abiding by the laws. God has blessed us with this land of freedom and liberty, so the least we can do is love our country.



Toria D. – Age 16 – On Cheating

I never really thought about what I was doing when I asked someone if I could copy their answers. One day, I realized it was the same thing as lying and in the end it was only hurting, not helping me. Everyone was doing it, so it wasn’t a big deal, but it was a big deal. I promised myself I would never cheat again and my grades actually improved. I also knew that the grades I got were honest.

Toria – On Hope

It is so important to have hope. We need to hope that in the end, everything will be alright. If we don’t have hope, how can we be happy?

Toria – On Service

I find when I am worrying about or only thinking about myself, that if I serve someone else, I forget all of my problems. Service lets others know you care. If you have any opportunities to serve, you should take them. I know that when I’m serving others, I feel love.

Toria – On Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is one of the hardest things youth today have to deal with. We all want to fit in, but if fitting in means going to parties with alcohol, dressing immodestly, and not acting virtuously, why would you want to fit in? If you surround yourself with good friends who do what is right, they’ll pressure you to choose the right, which is never a bad thing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teen Social Rebellion: "Sad" is the new Pink

Ask any youth what the number one challenge is for teenagers and they will most likely answer, Peer Pressure. Typically, they aren’t talking about pressure from peers to do bad things like smoke or be promiscuous, though there is a little of that. What they are referring to is the constant pressure to fit in.

All teens feel a desire to fit in. It is our human nature to seek acceptance from those around us and such desires are nothing to be ashamed of. I suppose it is also human nature to want to be popular. The problem is that human nature can also be very judgmental and getting in with the cool kids requires their approval. If you are completely gorgeous, incredibly rich or exceptionally sporty you shouldn’t have too much trouble. But for the other 93% of us, we might not make the “cut.”

I find it interesting that two of the most important teen traits; being intelligent and being nice, are not on the “cool” requirements list. So a teen finds themselves excluded for one reason or another and in order to cope they begin to identify flaws in the cool kids. They say things like, “Well at least I’m not rude” or “At least my friends like me for who I am, not who my parents are.” Soon the teens don’t want to be cool (secretly they still do, but since they can’t get accepted they have no choice but to pretend they don’t want to) and they take steps to prove how different (and better) they are than them.

This leads to a social rebellion. The smart kids realize they might not fit in with the cool kids, but at least they have brains. They judge the cool kids as ignorant fools and they find security and union in the nerd group. Perhaps a group of plus size girls sit around and think that at least they are nice to people and, after all, kindness is more important than coolness. The band and choir geeks spend their time developing their talents. Over time, some youth begin to see the cool kids as the opposite of anything they want to associate with and in their expressions of rebellion against that image they go to the opposite extreme.

If jocks and cheerios wear perma-smiles, they wear frowns.

If jocks and cheerios wear bright colors, they wear black.

If jocks and cheerios get cool little subtle tattoos, they wear huge “in your face” tattoos.

If jocks and cheerios have gorgeous hair, they wear extreme “punk” hairstyles or shaved heads.
In an effort to be noticed, they go for the shock value. You see this in everything from their makeup to the music they listen to. Sadly, they might even turn to substance abuse or other forms of self destructive behavior.

I can fully understand a teenager’s desire to rebel against the cool image, but I think most teens are going the wrong direction. There is a way to rebel against the “cool” image without turning into an emo, a goth, or a punk. These days, excessive piercings and tattoos are so common that avoiding them is the true rebellion. If you want to be different, don’t do what all the other nonconformists are doing.

You don’t have to be a “pleaser” to be a peacemaker. True modesty, in both personality and appearance is the opposite of “holier than thou.” So go ahead and rebel, but while you are rebelling against the popular kids, rebel against the nonconformists as well.

Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus, Ghandi, and countless other leaders in history were known best for how they were challenging the status quo. Their rebellion took the form of leadership to something better. They set an example that led to a positive change. And they did it without embracing depressing music, making extreme fashion statements or giving up on the world entirely.

Again… Go ahead and rebel. But rebel in a way that makes you a better person and influences the people around you to be better as well.

Some Examples:

Popular Kids Bad Rebellion Good Rebellion

Rude to Others Ignore Others Kind to Others

Latest Fashions Dark & Vintage Clean and Modest

Drinking Parties Sabotage Parties Good Clean Fun

I think you get the idea. And if you want to go for individuality or show everyone how unique you are, I think you’ll agree that there just aren’t that many people in the good rebellion category. So be different, but maintain a well rounded sense of morals and values. And most importantly, don’t be a hater : )

Note To Parents:

Most Parents don’t know how to handle the rebellion discussed above. For the most part, parents want their kids to fit in and, with any luck, be popular. They may even unknowingly contribute to the pressure that their teens feel and in response the teens typically rebel against the parents as well. Much of the shock value that teens are going for is directed at their parents, teachers, principal, etc.

Depression, Anxiety, Behavior Disorders and Eating Disorders are all signs that your youth are having trouble feeling accepted and loved. Helping your child is going to require love and gentleness rather than disapproval and anger. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Seek first to Understand.” Build a healthy relationship of trust and talk openly with your kids. If you can’t do this with your teen, it’s time to find someone who can. Remember also that change doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right attitude on your part and a lot of patience, Miracles Can Happen.