Advice to youth 13-25

Advice to youth 13 – 25

As a former school bus driver, vista [americorps] volunteer, teacher, social worker, political aide, landlord, and as a senior, I have started this.

If raised in an oppressive, overly strict family, you will read the below as if taking on more heavy burdens to plod thru life with, bowed over by these ideas as great weights. If raised in a sensible family, you’ll listen to the below and come out well. If raised in a family that has spoiled you, you won’t know what I’m talking about below, nor care; everyone owes you everything – why be responsible?

My youth in the 50s was not as permissive as today. Students, teachers and principals dressed better. Teachers had authority. We didn’t need security guards on campus. We couldn’t vote till we were 21. We weren’t entitled to food stamps, extended unemployment benefits, social promotion, easy scholarships, student loans, Medicaid, legal aid, rent subsidies, heat subsidies and easy disability. We didn’t go for counseling when the sun didn’t come out. Unskilled work wasn’t referred to as ‘menial.’ It was a job you were glad to have and you took pride in your it.


You’re predestined in many ways by your family, neighborhood, and schools. You’ll be a lot like your folks and speak and think like your teenage peers.

According to the Brookings Institute, your chances of avoiding poverty are good if you finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have kids.

School should include

    1. Traditional values (basic to maturity)
    2. Mental health (courses and counseling – to promote maturity).
    3. Physical health (diet, exercise, information about smoking, alcohol, drugs,
      pregnancy, first aid, longevity …).
    4. Career counseling (to work on discovering your primary interests).
    5. Apprenticeships (so you graduate with marketable skills).
    6. Practical courses

Teen years 13-20

Some adults feel they missed something in their youth and tend to live through you and fawn over you telling you you are the first to discover slang, the opposite sex, muscles, curves, music, rhythm, dances, styles, cars, sports, hanging out, cruising, being macho and femi¬nine, discovering thrills, what is ‘in’ and what’s ‘out`, 1st to have such energy, diff clothes, disagree with your folks, ‘rebel’, search for your identity, be born into a “new” era, discover hypocrisy, want ‘change’ …blah blah

Some adults cater to you, want you to buy their records, clothes, food, entertainment, magazines, movies, sports equipment, religion and join their cult, crusade, cause and save the world.


You feel invincible and know everything.

Peer pressure is very strong and can be destructive.

You want freedom but not the responsibility that comes with it – especially if spoiled.

You don’t have experience and you lack judgment. You need input from adults.

Your folks should have raised you with traditional values. Then you would have listened when they and other adults told you about smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, gays issues, cults, and sects. Also extremism – .

Other matters:

Don’t fight – too much chance of permanent injury and lawsuits.

Don’t go to extremes over sports.

Some youth live by, thru, and for music – feeling it will cure the world.

You’re often told rock and roll and fast dancing were new. Wrong, before them there was jitterbug, boogie woogie, the lindy, the charleston ….

You’re told the beatles, folk singers, and other changed the world. Ho hum.

Music critic David Sheehen said Rod Steward and Elton John finally [in their 40s] had to grow up. Billy Joel said in rock and roll you never do – meaning the ever younger audiences won’t let you.

Don’t try to be the most popular; your strengths may be in other areas. Play to your strengths.

Joe Clark of the movie LEAN ON ME told his students, “You’re first judged on your appearance. I would add: the more on the outside, the less on the inside – meaning the teen that goes overboard with the hair, tattoos, piercings and clothes on the outside, is trying to make up for what he or she lacks on the inside.

The way you dress affect your behavior. Dress conservatively. It will help when applying for a job. So will not having tattoos and piercings

Joe Clark said the 2nd way you’re judged is how you talk. He probably meant clearly, politely, intelligently, confidently, without resorting to ‘ya know, ahhh, like I mean, ya know, ahh, know what I’m saying…. ‘

You have a huge advantage with the internet, gps, cell phones, and cable TV. Computers can make you feel dumb. You’re not. They are designed by brilliant people who often don’t use common sense. You can finally catch on to some programs; then they change them. Hang in and you will eventually learn what you can use.

Some adults tell you you can be anything you want. Then you get into something you can’t handle, fail, and blame yourself. You can’t be anything, but you can be more than think.


I went in as a ‘reserve’ when you had to join or be drafted. Six months full time and years of reserve meetings. We hated it. It should be privatized. Many join to mature – a big mistake. While it can offer some unique experiences, you’ll mature and progress better and faster in the real world.


Between finishing school and starting a family you are FREE. It’s a wonderful, glorious time. A chance to travel the Australians call a ‘walkabout.’ Germans call it a ‘wunder year.’ Others chase dreams on Broadway, in Hollywood, Nashville, Wash, d.c., or New York. There is Americorps, the Peace Corps – all sorts of things.

There are those who never the chance to chase their dreams and wonder for years if they could have made it. There are those who took the chance, worked hard, failed, but they were glad they tried.

Of those that made it, some say the best part wasn’t the success but the journey.

I wouldn’t give anything for the 8 years I spent in New York after finishing school.

This is your time to try different things before settling down and being tied down by obligations.

Age 20-25

– The media worshiped the baby boomers, born 1946 – 64, because there were so many of them.

– “Child” is used to describe anyone under 18. Nonsense. A teenager is not a ‘child.’

– “Lost generation” – a silly term.

– The media worship Woodstock. Conservative George Will said it was delayed adolescence, mass immaturity, and sandbox revolution

– Bruno Bettleheim said hippies emotional development was at level of a temper tantrum.

– Beware of fads and far out stuff: dowsing, poltergeist, apparitions, fire walking, telepathy, premonition, reincarnation, channeling, psychogenesis [bending silverware], weegie boards, up with people, moral rearmament, miracles, new age stuff …

– Put aside the naive, blind, forced over-emphasis on positives, feeling good, togetherness, relationships-mania, everyone being equal in every way, everyone’s a winner, everything’s “new”, and other pied piper schemes.

– Hippies and others with a fuzzy, odd appearance usually have fuzzy, odd ideas.

– Don’t put your leaders on a pedestal and believe in them more than you believe in yourself.

– Don’t look for a magic person in romance, friendship, work or anything.

– Don’t look for a set of beliefs that insists on having all the answers.

– Some years back 18 yr olds cried out to lower the voting age to 18. It was lowered and only 30% of them voted in ’88.


– Some young people are pushed into college where they don’t belong, never finish, and have their hearts broken. Some that finish never get or keep a job worth the effort it took to get a degree.

– Some colleges keep students only for their sports ability. One couldn’t read a menu.

– Colleges don’t want their athletes to turn pro early [as tennis players can at age 15], as they they’d lose some of the money that sports bring in. Football makes the most. If it wasn’t for football Notre Dame wouldn’t attract as much money and attention. If it wasn’t for Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, where it’s located wouldn’t attract as much money and attention.

– When I was young college football was bigger than pro ball. Now it’s the other way around, which is what it should be.

– Someone wrote, “What is it about Harvard that impels many of their students to look with disdain upon their upbring¬ing, ridicule their parents, laugh at the institutions through which they have grown and prospered? Rebellion for the sake of itself shows contempt for the past.”

– Many students graduate verbose, self-centered , thinking they have a monopoly on truth and are objective and not prejudiced.



Cults appeal to young people with low self-esteem in their late teens and early 20s when they are forming their identities and are most open to changing their religious outlook. The breakup of a relationship, death of a loved one, etc. leave some vulnerable. They want the 24 hour structure and authority of a cult. It simplifies life. There is sleep deprivation; limiting outside contacts, lack of privacy and time for reflection. They give up their worries. They think more of others than of themselves. They look to gurus.

The philosophy isn’t the main draw. People join for the warmth and enthusiasm of members or the charisma of the leader, acceptance, belonging at the price of their thinking and identity. Leaders become corrupted by power. The majority of members in hi-demand groups leave in year or two.’ Source unknown.


– I read the working class wants to leave school, work and start a family earlier than the rest of the population.

– Some of you don’t know much about work because of parents who spoiled you and because of minimum wage, unions, licensing, and ‘child’ labor laws.

– I’ve hired 18 yr. old undocumented workers that worked circles around American 18 yr. olds.

– If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

– When you leaved school, the real world won’t care much about your self-esteem. It’ll expect you to accomplish something.

– You won’t make a lot of money right out of high school.

– Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity nor is minimum wage. The more minimum wage is raised, the more young people are kept out of entry jobs – especially minority youth.

– Many people have to settle for work they are not wild about.

– Sometimes employers hire people on as temporaries so they can see who they want to keep as permanents.

– Many people work for the government as those jobs are more secure.

– The goal for many is independence, but few achieve it.

– For job hunting tips go to and scroll down to ‘work.’



– You’re at a great age – full of energy, creativity, ideas, and plans. Refreshing. Many older people wish they were your age.

– Keep an overview.

– Continually work on discovering and following your primary interests. Extremely important.

– You don’t have to figure out everything by age 25.

– You feel you will be trim and fit forever, find a great job, find a magic person for romance, and make a lot of money.

– Much of life is not fair.

– You’re limited physically [in sports] and mentally [in how well you do in school], but not in character. Learn and develop good values. They will serve you best in the long run. – .

– Equally important is gaining insight into your mental health – are you angry, alienated, compulsive, spoiled…whatever – so you don’t fall into a cult or some other misbegotten lifestyle. Look how President Nixon and others were shaped by their mental health.

– You’ll be amazed at the hardships you‘ll have to endure. They can make you or break you.

– You will find a huge lack of common sense in most people and every kind of work – especially government work as it doesn’t have competition like the private sector does .

– Someone said, ‘If you’re 20 and not liberal, you have no heart. If 40 and not conservative, you have no brain.’ –

– Someday you’ll be giving such advice like this.

– Question religion –


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *