1. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.
Images on TV and movies, lyrics in songs, and the basic values of our society will probably lead you to want to stretch to the next level, just ahead of where you are. But don’t. Savor the moment. Enjoy the stage you’re in. You only get the be there once.
2. Your friends matter more than your boyfriends and girlfriends.
Many adults look back on their teen years and regret choices they made to ignore good friends in favor of short-term love interests. Of course the boyfriends and girlfriends will draw your attention, but be a good friend. You won’t regret it.
3. You don’t have to be perfect.
You may be worried about standardized testing, college admissions, winning the district tournament, or hitting all the right notes at your upcoming performance, but you really don’t need to strive for absolute perfection. Learning and growing is enough. Relax. You don’t need to stress so much.
4. Life is hard, and that’s okay.
The older you get, the more you’re going to realize that life can be hard. Don’t run away from that. Don’t look for a way to avoid it. It’s okay. Life can be tough, and you’re equipped to deal with it. Easy is boring anyway.
5. You can do this, and you’re the one to do it.
Not only are you capable, and it’s important to know it, but also some things are your responsibility. Sometimes you have to be the one: to solve a problem, to stand up for what’s right, to take the lead. You can’t always look for someone else to take responsibility. Many times, it’s going to be you.
6. It’s part of your job to take care of yourself (physically, emotionally, spiritually).
If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Sure, there will always be people who love you. But no one is inside that mind of yours but you, and therefore that’s one of the first things you’ll have to accept doing for yourself. Take care of you. You can’t make anyone do that for you.
7. Kindness is always the right answer.
When in doubt, be kind. Kindness is always okay. It’s always important. It’s always right. There will be moments when you aren’t sure whether to choose one path or another, and in those times, choose kindness. You’ll never be sorry you did.
8. Hard work pays off.
If you want something, work at it. If you aren’t’ willing to work, maybe you don’t really want it after all. Hard work is your friend. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t be afraid to break a sweat. Don’t be fooled by the myth of raw talent. If you’ll work, even if you don’t get what you wanted, you’ll grow stronger and more skillful. Work is good; don’t be misled to believe otherwise.
9. Manners matter.
Basic manners, like saying “please” and “thank you,” looking at adults when you speak to them, shaking hands… those may not seem like vital life skills when you’re young, but to anyone who doesn’t know you yet, those communicate a lot about your willingness to adapt to the needs of others. Make others comfortable. It’s not all about you. Be polite. Always.
10. Family is important.
Everything about the teen years is for learning your social group. You’re supposed to want to see your friends, and text, and Instagram. But a long time from now, you’ll still only have one family. Remember to invest a little there. Call your grandma. Visit your cousins. Go on family trips. Your friends are essential, but your family is permanent.