Advice That All Kids Ignore
by J.D. Hilton Day 64
When I was teaching high school, after about ten years or so, I thought that I was a pretty intelligent person.
I had seen a lot of kids come and go and continually I saw them make the same mistakes with their lives. I wanted to tell all of the new students that were coming my way how to avoid all of the pitfalls that ensnared so many of their predecessors, but it seemed that if you try to tell any kid anything, they have a severe case of selective hearing.
If you are over 25 there is no way that you could ever know anything that would relate to their life in any way. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to teach them. They will not listen when you tell them your own experiences.
The only thing you can do is condense everything you want them to know into small spoon sized portions that they will remember without even realizing it. Once the thought is in their head, there is not much they can do about it.
They can ignore it, but the rules are always there, or at least I thought so. It has been years since I had even thought about the three rules, but was reminded recently about how I told them to my advisee group when they were freshmen in high school, and probably to every class I ever taught. They were worth telling then and worth listening to now. At least I think so, and this is my blog so…………….here you go!
Rule number one – Always Wear You’re Seat Belt
The reason for this rule was self explanatory to me, I had seen several lives cut tragically short because of car accidents. Seeing a life end so prematurely and to possibly be preventable was a no brainer to me. Having experienced that, I never wanted to have that experience because of one of those kids I was talking to. Wearing a seat belt is the law and it makes sense. I know that you can still be critically injured in a car accident even when you wear all safety equipment, but if wearing a seat belt can prevent you from dying and all of the suffering that comes along with it, then why wouldn’t you? So wear your seat belt, it’s the law and someone out there cares about you enough.
Rule number two- Don’t Drink or Do Drugs
Such an adult thing to say to a kid, but one that I always wanted to at least say. As adults most of us have either directly experienced the affects of drugs and/or alcohol either through direct practice or indirect observation. There is one fact
that I could never get over, and that was that I never heard any good reason to do either of these things. How many lives have been destroyed because of these vices. Alcohol has been marketed to the young through the media for decades, and is always portrayed as bringing a good time with it, when in truth you are ingesting small amounts of poison into your body willingly to change your perception of reality. The sad part is that no matter how much you drink or how many drugs you do, they won’t improve your reality. Nobody says when they are a kid, “Gee, I want to be an alcoholic or a drug addict when I grow up.” , still we have so many. I do not judge these people, because we are all just one or two different decisions away from someone else’s problems. I can see that using these substances inevitably leads to misery and it all can be avoided by following rule number two, I also know that I would have more of a chance of reversing the law of gravity than to have this advice be listened to, much less followed.
Rule number three- Don’t Have Sex Until You Are Married
Talk about unrealistic. I had seen how so many lives had been changed by the unexpected pregnancy that resulted from unsafe premarital sex.
In hind sight, it would have been more productive to say, don’t have unsafe sex. But I was idealistic at the time, I have become more of a realist over time.
I would still encourage waiting to have sex though. Again, our kids are bombarded with messages at younger and younger ages that sexuality should be exploited.
The factor I think nobody ever talks about is that sex is more than a physical act it is an emotional one as well. And most often, almost without exception, these emotions can overwhelm you if you are not ready for them. Not to mention the unplanned pregnancy that could result.
Once you have made the decision to have sex, you have to be ready to pay the consequences. They may be immediate or they may come back to you twenty years later. Whatever the case, you have to be ready to accept that responsibility, because it is a part of the deal. I also in retrospect feel very hypocritical about saying this, because I didn’t practice it when I was young, but I guess because of this I also am the voice of experience.
As I have gotten older and moved away from teaching and been able to look at things from a distance, I know that as people we try to develop rules to protect ourselves from being hurt.
Unfortunately, life is full of random acts that you will never be able to avoid no matter how many rules you make. Life is going to happen and sometimes uncomfortable stuff will happen to you. If you survive all of that random crap, accidents, sickness and failed relationships, and you can recognize them for what they are, just things that happen in life, you can still enjoy the hell out of what is left.