In the ten years since my teenage years ended sometimes I am convinced an eternity has passed. Nineteen-year-old me is only a fuzzy memory, someone I don't know anymore. Yet somehow, it also feels as if I blinked and the years trickled through my fingertips never even giving me the chance to realize what was happening. It was only yesterday and I was nineteen.
I know, many of you who are a few years older and wiser might read this and laugh. Nineteen, a memory? You wish, right?
|My nineteenth birthday with Gram|
But I have always been too 'grown' for my own good. I have always had a mentality too far ahead of my time. Ah, the misfortunes of being an older sibling! Even so, I missed the same important values that it seems every person is doomed to speed past during their teen into twenties years. Values that could have spared a lot of pain, a lot of heartache.
The expectations of a teenager never translate into reality. Of course, if you are past the age of twenty-five you've probably discovered that for yourself. If only there was an older version of each one of us that could come to slap us in the face at the age of sixteen and set us on a clearer path.
But we have to make those mistakes, don't we? Try to convince an eighteen-year-old of the right choice to make and you'll realize it. You'll go blue in the face, your knees will scrape from dragging on the ground pleading with them, and after it all you'll realize this was yet again a life lesson not only for them, but for you as well. Teenagers will make mistakes. Unfortunately, they can't be saved from them. Only guided.
|My twentieth birthday with the family|
My last job gave all the staff the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , to read. The book has changed my entire perspective on how I treat people, how I plan the actions I take in life, and how I react to situations of conflict. If I had this book ten years ago...let's be real...I probably wouldn't have read it.
My kindergarten class recited these habits everyday last year. We started with one habit every other week until they had them all memorized. It isn't just another rote exercise. Having these habits in their minds helped even five and six-year-olds with problem solving and attitude adjustment. In my own life, I have found it helpful to be able to pull the appropriate habit out of my memory to meditate on when I am dealing with something relevant.
Here they are. In italics is their elementary level description.
Habit One: Be proactive; You are in charge
Habit Two: Begin with the end in mind; Have a plan
Habit Three: Put first things first; Work first, then play
Habit Four: Seek first to understand, then to be understood; Listen before you talk
Habit Five: Think win win; Everyone can win
Habit Six: Synergize; Together is better
Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw; Balance is best
Values like these only help to change us for the better. They help to make us into the best version of ourselves possible. In my life, the focus I've fashioned is this: Everyone matters; Speak less; Listen more; Family is forever; Don't sweat the small stuff; Focus on what is most important.
I fail. We all do. But knowing that there is an intelligently formulated plan to follow, one that can bring about successes--whether large or small, helps me to get myself back on track when I fail.