A Teenager’s Guide to Living: Navigating the Challenges of Adolescence
Public high schools do a poor job of preparing teenagers for the realities of life. I know, I teach in one. It is not the fault of the high schools. They are forced to focus on state test scores, graduation rates and an outdated curriculum. Research tells us that employers don’t care about state test scores. They want people who are reliable, work hard, get along well with others and are trainable. Students bound for college are ill-prepared for the stresses and challenges of life away from their families.
“A Teenager’s Guide to Living: Navigating the Challenges of Adolescence” is designed to teach kids about the subjects that high school doesn’t typically cover. Topics for chapters evolved out of interviews with teenagers. They include love, compassion, integrity, character, finding your passion, conflict resolution, money, grief, tolerance and acceptance, technology, stepping outside your comfort zone, taking responsibility for your life and much more. The book is written in a conversational tone with many anecdotes and lots of humor. Each chapter contains reflection questions.
I’ve worked as a high school and college teacher for the past 30 years. I’ve spent a great deal of time mentoring and counseling teenagers. Often I’ve been a surrogate parent for students. I was fortunate to teach a philosophy class at our school based on this book. Students could ask questions about anything, and we discussed them in a safe, loving environment. At the end of the class I asked the 28 students to review the class, and everyone said the course needs to be a requirement for high school students.