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Teens For Kids Stories
Click on the story titles below to read these teens real stories.
  Believe in Yourself - Luke
  Peer Pressure - Nicole
  Sharing Your Gifts - Dave
  Get Ready for High School - Ryan
  True Friendship - Stephanie
  Mean Girls - Becky
  Peer Pressure & Drugs - Sammy
  Time for Yourself & God - Cameron
  God in My Life - Matt
  Self Esteem & Respect - Lindsey
  The Power of Family - Kauri
  Doing Fun Things / Volunteering - Dylan
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"Always be a FIRST-RATE VERSION of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else!"
-Judy Garland
Believe in Yourself, by Luke
Hey everyone, I just wanted to start off and thank you all for coming. I know that this is not necessarily what you guys want to be doing on a Friday night, and I am glad that you are giving us a chance. I know some of you may have touched on this stuff in school or with your parents, and I know that it can get pretty old, pretty fast. So hopefully, I won't bore you too badly, and maybe I'll even give you guys some good advice. I know I could have used some when I was your going through school, so we'll see.
For those of you who saw the winter musical, Once Upon A Mattress, you may recognize me as the "Minstrel." Or maybe if you follow, Ridgefield High sports, you may have heard my name at a football game, or maybe even seen me at the track. I am a pretty busy kid, and participate in broad range of activities. This past year I was a Football captain and Track captain. Meanwhile, I am actively involved with music and theater. I am a member of the RHS choir, Madrigals, and accappella singers. While athletics and music may not be the most similar of worlds, I love them both and would not be happy without both of them in my life. Another extremely important piece of my life is my faith. Whenever I get the opportunity I go to the weekly Young Life meetings in town, and I am always involved on one Emmaus weekend or another. I have to concede that for the most part, things are pretty good right now. I have my close friends, I've been successful in my sports, I even got recruited to play football in college, and my high school theater career went out with a respectable bang. However, it was a pretty rough road to 18, and things only got fully settled in my senior year.
I moved to Ridgefield from Hartsdale, NY about three days before the start of fourth grade. I was to be a Branchville Beaver, since the school was reopening to compensate for the booming population. I guess the new kid is always subject to a "social adjustment" period. And I, unfortunately, was not destined to be the exception.
Things were rough through elementary school. I was the four eyed geek, who did not know when to shut up, did not exactly have a circle of friends. My first friend was actually my neighbor who I met through I met through one of those "first day of school games." Thing were ok for awhile till his other friend, and also fellow neighbor, started to give me a hard time. Eventually, my two neighbors would do their best to make the bus ride to and from school miserable for me. So now I was estranged at school and hating riding the bus. Fortunately, I still had athletics and music to turn to. I loved going to chorus, loved playing the violin, and loved pretty much anything to do with sports. Yet, people made fun of me all the time about acting, singing, and pretty much anything else. Once people found out that I played chess that just gave then more ammunition. But, I didn't let them ruin any of things for me.
Ultimately, middle school got a little better than elementary school. I started to become close friends with David and another guy named Lannon, who was Dauntless in the musical. Likewise, people started supporting or just stopped giving me hell for my music and acting, and I started to play what I sincerely believe is the greatest sport in the world football... sorry Dave. But here more than ever I experienced the woes of insincerity and gossip. A new friend of mine, who was then my best friend in sixth grade, would actually use me as a pedestal whenever someone "cooler" was around. And eventually, he ditched me all together. But I pushed through the jabs and the betrayals. And eventually things became pretty tolerable in 8th grade.
Now I was able to get through those trying years. But it would have been a lot easier if I knew then what I know now. If you really think about it, and I have, other people's words should not have any influence on how you view yourself. If you realize that these words have no earnest or merit than these words really shouldn't have any impact on you. The only thing that truly matters in the end is that you respect yourself and what you do. I know this sounds corny, and I'm some adult figure has said this to you, but its actually pretty true. All the decisions you make, all the roads you take, and the friends you keep, do so because it is what you sincerely want. Do not let yourself be swayed by popular opinion, what's in, what's lame, or who's cool, who's not. If there is ever any doubt on how you should treat someone, or what you should say, try to view one another as what we all are; we are all God's children, and we should treat each other as such.
Now, I have not forgotten about high school. I could talk on and on giving you advice about high school, but that's not why I am here so I will try to get to the point. High school has all the challenges of elementary and middle school. Sadly, there will be bullying, there will be lots of homework at times, there'll be happy times and there'll be sad times, but in high school there is an added twist: we are all older, young adults if you will. With this, a lot of things change. In middle school, you might have made or will make a few life choices. But for the most part, the majority of life choices will be made in High school, but they will also be tested. And they will each be tested multiple times. These choices are not limited to anyone area, nor will I discuss every challenge you will face, and these may not be the same for everyone. But, here are a few life choices that I've made.
A long time ago, I made the decision to be straight edge. Now this means that I don't drink, smoke, or do any types of drugs. I made this decision because at a young age I was exposed to all the problems it causes and stress it places on loved ones. Now, some might say that's good for you and move on, or some might say "oh that's weird," but there's more to it than just enduring peer pressure. Even though I am friends with people who are not straight edge, it still makes things pretty difficult for me. Not drinking, excludes me from much of the popular weekend activities. And ultimately, it has kind of made finding true friends a little more difficult. Even though I now know everyone in my school, and get along with pretty much all of them. It was very important for me to find friends that supported my life style.
Some people will judge you, and that's sad, but do not let it bother you too much. There will always be some people who don't like you, or will be threatened by the life you live because it makes them self-conscious about their own lives. Now this applies to faith and morality too.
I recommend that you find friends that truly like you for who you are and respect the things that are important to you. I am not saying that you have to find someone exactly like you, because that's boring and that's not going to happen. I cannot lie to you and say that I haven't thought of how easier it would be to drink, or smoke, or what ever. But, I do not do things because they are easy, or because they are hard. I do not do things because my friends tell me to do, or even because my parents told me to. Don't get me wrong your parents and close friends can offer sound advice. But, in the end it is still your decision to make. Instead, I live the life that I live now, because it is what I believe in and what I feel is best for me.
Thank you... if you any questions that you like to answer, or maybe you want to ask them privately, I would love to try and help you guys out.