Well, I just finished reading a most wonderful book:
The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters, by Michael Gurian
This book really gets into what makes teenage girls tick. Two main themes stick in my mind:
- There are solid scientific reasons why girls act the way they do, based on hormones and other things that affect the way they think, feel, and do what they do.
- Society has let feminism go a little too far in some ways, telling girls that they should not only be as good as boys, but be like boys, damaging girls’ nature of who they truly are.
Many elements covered in this book help me better understand my daughter and other youth women. I highly recommend it!
I just finished reading my latest youth development book, called “Get Out of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?” It’s subtitled “A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager” and is written by a psychologist that’s worked with adolescents for over 30 years.
First, I have to say that the book is very frank. The author goes through several interesting points, each with facts, figures and evidence of experience to back it up. He covers many key points, including independence, communication, control, and conflict.
With that said, I struggle to say that I like the book. My summary would be something like, “Most teenagers are miserable monsters, and there is nothing you can do about it, so here are some coping strategies to get you though it.” I’ve met some parents that pretty much feel that way, and they should relate quite well to this book. I suppose I just have a better experience with most teenagers, so that seems a bit harsh to me.
In any case, whether you are a parent or other adult that works with youth, I think you’ll find this book a valuable read.
Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated
We discussed something interesting in youth group this morning. Based on The Listserve, our youth pastor asked, “If you had the chance to speak to one million people, what would you say?” It could be one word or a entire essay. It could be funny or serious. Students provided plenty of variety, including, “Live life to the fullest,” and, “Balance the important things in your life,” and “Take advantage of alternative energy sources.” As usual, I have my own answer. For those that don’t care, feel free to move on. For everyone else, here you go…
- You are handcrafted for an amazing purpose. That is both a great gift and a great responsibility. You should determine your purpose and fulfill it as awesomely as possible.
- You are continually filled with amazing love. That is both a great gift and a great responsibility. You should share that love with family, friends, and other people you meet.
- You may occasionally find yourself sitting around wondering what you should do. When that happens, review the previous two points.
I just read an interesting Saturday Essay article on French parenting. You can check it out here:
Why French Parents are Superior
The most important lesson seems to be defining clear boundaries.
Do you think French parents have some lessons we can learn?
Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD
I just read this nice little list of thoughts to share with your middle or high school student:
20 Things to Share with your High School and Middle School Student
While I like almost every point, my favorite is probably #13.
If you like this list, which is your favorite point? Would you add a point?
One key ingredient in relationships is learning to come to an agreement in certain situations. Of course, caring about the other person and knowing how to compromise go a long way. However, sometimes a particularly deep-rooted issue feels more important or seems to keep coming up again. In this case, I found that it can help to go beyond just compromising or even “picking your battles”. It helps to resort to something I refer to as “selective apathy”. This may sound less than pleasant at first. But, if you passionately care about everything, and the other person in the relationship cares equally as much, and you happen to disagree on something, then it will be very difficult to reach any agreement. On other hand, if you are completely apathetic about everything, then it will be very difficult to find any purpose or enjoyment in life. However, if you pick some things to be passionate about, but you also select some things to be apathetic about, then you may find a good balance.
Said another way, you might find it helpful to actively pick some things *not* to care about. Of course, you want to pick the right things. You want to consider your core values and the issues that are most important to you, as you probably want to keep your passion for those issues. However, you should also consider the core values and the issues that are most important to the other people in your relationships, as those are potential issues to select to be actively and intentionally apathetic.
What are your strengths? What kinds of things are you best suited to do in this world? Find out with this book:
Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community
The book includes explanations of the many strengths and access to take an online assessment to discover your top talents.
Would you like to see a refreshing view from a High School student? Something that will challenge to pursue new levels of trust and compassion? Check out:
Rachel’s Challenge – an essay
Once you’ve read the essay, peruse the rest of the site for interesting information and related events.
Some of you may have noticed that I end many of my notes with two simple words: Stay Awesome. This is kind of my new personal motto, so I suppose it’s worth explaining.
The second word is the easiest and most obvious. Be AWESOME. Don’t be normal. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Rise above all that. Be extraordinary.
The first word is perhaps more subtle. STAY awesome. The fact is that you are already awesome. God handcrafted you as a glorious work of art and science to carry out some great purpose in this world. So, your challenge is to continue to be as awesome as you can according to His plan.
Of course, we all have room for improvement. You can’t stay the most awesome in everything, so you have to determine in which areas you should grow, and in which areas you can let go. How do we do this? Through prayer and congregation. Through prayer, you can listen to what God wants you to do. Through congregation, you can listen to your family and friends and find out where you can really make a difference. Spend some time thinking and feeling about all of that, and you can figure out how to stay as awesome as possible based on what God wants and what those around you need.
So, there it is. Stay awesome!
My college statistics professor taught us one of those unique lessons that apply in a broad way to real life beyond the basic mathematical concept…
“You never, never know the true state of Mu.”
For those not familiar with statistics, the Greek letter “Mu” represents the *real* average for a set of numbers. For a small set of known numbers, you can easily calculate the value of Mu. However, consider a meaningful question, like, “What is the average age of all people living in the United States?” You can approximate the average using statistical methods, by taking samples and whatnot, but you can never know the *real* average age. There is just too much data changing too quickly.
So, it is with all aspects of reality, beyond simple things like averages. While you can approximate reality based on the perceptions you have and the conclusions you make, you will never, never know the true state of reality.