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Teen Creed

Authored By: 
Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

Teen Creed

Don't let your parents down,

They brought you up.


Be humble enough to obey,

You may give orders someday.


Choose companions with care,

You become what they are.


Guard your thoughts,

What you think, you are.


Choose only a date

Who would make a good mate.


Be master of your habits,

Or they will master you.


Don't be a show off when you drive,

Drive with safety and arrive.


Don't let the crowd pressure you,

Stand for something-

Or you'll fall for anything.


Stored somewhere in my parents' garage is the corkboard that used to hang in my teenage bedroom and later in my college dorm room.  On that corkboard, pinned with a pink thumbtack, is a 3 x 5 paper card.  Printed on this card is the Teen Creed you read above.  It is misshapen and discolored from being close enough to my mirror to be repeatedly coated with Aqua Net as I fixed my hair each morning.

Now in my 30’s, I see that if I had only heeded these words instead of giving them a passing glance every now and then, the bad influences and horrible boyfriends, nail biting and irresponsible driving that I probably only survived thanks to the grace of God could have all been avoided. (Seven cheerleaders stuffed in a red Mustang convertible speeding down a rural highway after a Friday night football game with the music blaring--not my brightest idea.)

I don’t know where I got the card from or why in my ego-centered teens and twenties I felt it was important enough to keep, but its message is one that stuck with me as I matured. They are simple thoughts. I think they apply no matter what your race, religion, or political views may be.  As I have taught the teens of the late ‘90s, the ‘00s and today, I constantly see the psychological invincibility that comes naturally to this age group.  We are forgetting that these 15-, 16-, 17- and even 18-year-olds who are chomping at the bit to assert their independence are still children who need guidance, support and encouragement.

As a teacher, I am only one member of the metaphorical village required to raise a child, and while I find myself extremely qualified to teach them photosynthesis and balancing equations, I still believe what is taught at home has the greatest influence on the development of the next contributors and leaders of future generations.  Spock, Tiger Moms, Helicopter Parents and Free Range Kids, to spank or not to spank, the time-out and the countdown are just a few of the ever-evolving parenting philosophies which in my personal opinion (which may not count for much since I do not have children of my own) could all work, but only because they require a parent to pick a course of action and see it through. Could it really be as easy as handing them a card with this simple creed?  Probably not, but it is a start!

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