Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
Teenagers in my neighborhood have shown great courage in many ways.
I’m a mom. I think teens today are getting a bad name that they don’t deserve.
When I was a teen, we made wrong choices more often than what’s happening now.
I wanted to write and let you know, because we only seem to hear about the kids who are acting out.
These teen stories are from my area alone:
• A 13-year-old boy was babysitting two small children, when he saw another small child fall into a pool next door. The parents were gardening and didn’t see her. The boy grabbed the kids he was babysitting, put them on his hip and ran over yelling that their daughter fell into the pool. He put the two kids down, next to the parents, and jumped into the pool and saved the little girl. Our town gave him an award.
• Two senior high school girls were given drugs in their beers. Another girl saw the boy doing it. So she called 911. The boy was arrested. One of the girls went to the hospital. (No, they shouldn’t have been drinking, especially in a hot tub.) Then the girl who reported it was ostracized and bullied for telling on him.
• A girl at our middle school was cyberbullied for her “stupid” and “ugly” hair-style until another girl told on one of the kids. She courageously still proceeded to run for student council and won.
These are just a few examples of our courageous, valiant, and caring kids; teens who made right choices are all around us.
Thank you for your thoughtful letter!
It makes a big difference when communities recognize kids with values, depth-of-character, and the courage to do the right thing.
It makes a big difference when parents, teachers, and others recognize and reward teens’ good deeds. We’re not necessarily talking about monetary rewards, but acknowledgement in a magazine, newspaper, or something public.
Courage doesn’t need to be grandiose to be of great value.
These actions show courage:
• Reporting wrong behavior, even if it causes the double-bullying effect; bullied for being good and bullied for reporting
• Living high standards, even when mocked
• Saying no to drugs, alcohol, sex, and bullying
Courage is one of our Foundation’s 5 C’s of Leadership which also include: Civility, Confidence, Creativity, and Communication.
Good job mom!
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri