Opinion: Teens hear ‘life’s too short,’ but they need to hear ‘prepare’

Suzanne Bates is a writer living in South Windsor with her family. While traveling across the country as an Air Force spouse, she worked for news organizations including the Associated Press, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and Good Morning America Weekend. She recently completed a research fellowship at the Yankee Institute. Follow her on Twitter @suzebates.

This week I thought I’d take a break from the usual politics and policy and get a little sentimental. We are a couple of weeks away from the end of the school year, which means graduation day is approaching for students across the state. My son is graduating from middle school, which is kind of a second-tier graduation next to high school or college, but when I think about all of the seismic shifts that happen in the teen years, 8th grade graduation seems like a crucial time for good advice.

So, while he hasn’t asked for my advice, I offer my son and his classmates some words of wisdom about the next four years of their lives, and I’ll title it, “If You Mess Around For the Next Four Years You’ll Ruin Your Life.”

Ok, not really. What I really want you 13- and 14-year-olds to know is that while you’ll frequently hear the phrase “Life’s Too Short,” if you’re always living in the moment you won’t have the life you really want. You need to prepare as though your life will be long, because hopefully all of you are embarking on long, fruitful lives, and, as Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The flip side is that if you learn good habits and healthy patterns now, it will put you years ahead of everyone else.

You might find this especially difficult, given the culture that surrounds you, which celebrates lives that are high-speed and low-effort, and emphasizes things that provide immediate gratification and are easily disposable. There is always something new, better, faster, sleeker.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


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