Saturday, October 30, 2010

To My Teen Friends...

Dear Teens,

Here's the deal: YOU have a purpose. Life for you right now is only illuminated as far as the headlights of a car, but somewhere down the road is your destiny, and it's gonna be good. You can't see it right now, your entire life is only shining in those two little circles on the road of "RIGHT NOW," and it seems like that's all there is, but there's MORE. SO much more. Once your destiny is in focus, the blinders of darkness around those headlights will be lifted. It's going to be amazing when that happens, because you will be able to see all of the gorgeousness that is life all around you.

Here's another deal: We are all strange. If we weren't, we would be robotic and boring. But we have quirks. The insane part is that the bullies who put you down have secrets about how abnormal they are too, and by throwing insults, they somehow feel like that makes them more normal. Don't give them the power to take away who you are, or diminish the unique qualities this world is so thirsty for. Someday what makes you feel awkward and out-of-the-loop will be what makes you so irresistible as a human. You will embrace these differences and own them and wear them proudly. Right now you may feel like you just need to hide them in order to survive, but that glow that is a part of you will burst into light someday. It will be a spectacular day when you feel like you can walk, talk, and act like YOURSELF (for me this happened in college...).

Yet another deal: People will break your heart. They will. They are humans, and so are you. You may take the heartbreak so personally that it crumbles the goodness you once thought you had inside, but put a halt to that right away. You might question your value, but please don't. There are countless cliches out there to explain the fact that is true: There IS someone better out there for you. Again, don't let those headlights tell you otherwise. Please. You have no clue the stunning person who is breathing the same air you are and waiting...waiting further down the road for YOU and YOU alone.

The biggest deal: You are loved beyond measure. If you were diagnosed with a disease, I promise a family member WOULD blog about you. They might blog so much about you that you get embarrassed about it. Hopefully they won't describe your poop the way I do about my son. But really and truly, you are someone's heartbeat. You may be so stuck in a dark place that it feels no one could love you, but here is what you HAVE to do: ask for validation. You must put down your pride and ASK someone you have an inkling might care about you why you are so important, so valuable. If you are stuck in an even darker place than that: realize you are not alone. It's lonely in the dark and it feels like every other person is basking in the light. There is an even bigger entity that hears you and loves you beyond all measure. Even if you don't completely believe, pray. There will be a peace, I promise. It is uncanny and it is spellbinding, and I promise it happens. Whatever walk of faith you are on, here's another truth: You have to find what you believe on your own. You have to own it because YOU believe it. If you seek, it WILL be found.

This message I am writing to you, my teenaged friends, has been on my heart since Wednesday when I heard about another teen suicide, this one very close to home. It grieved me immeasurably. I was not his teacher in seventh grade, but I taught many of his friends who loved him. I think about you all of the time, my former students. I never said this in class, but every single day I taught you, I looked at you all and thought, "These are someone's greatest gift and they have entrusted ME to lead and teach and direct them for an hour today. How will I let this hour pass?" And so I taught my classes thinking about my own babies in someone else's class someday. I loved my academic subject (I think that was obvious), but I loved YOU more.

I don't know how many of you will read this, or even if any of you will. I will let it be in the cyberspace world, circling around until it is needed. I hope that anyone who does read this remembers that no matter how horrible, scary, ugly, and heartbreaking the situation, "IT WILL GET BETTER!"

Love one another. Never forget those who have gone and treasure those memories. You are someone's Brody or Gideon... I think that's what gets me every time...

All my love,
Mrs. S


  1. So heartfelt and true as a teacher should many people are mourning this loss.

  2. This was soo meaningful. It made me cry literally.....It's sad to think our world has came to this..and hard to grasp but it's life and I guess we have to deal with it through all the hard troubles. Thank you soo much...for us all hope i think :)

    love Alexis

  3. Mrs. S,
    Your class was the ONE part of Middle School that felt as close to home as it possibly could. Now I know why. We all felt your love. I remember when things were real hard in my life. Horrible things were happening and I thought the world would be better without me. You kept looking at me while you taught on one of my darkest days. When it was workshop time, you asked to talk to me in the hall. I'll never forget what you said. You said, "Your eyes are the saddest I have ever seen them, and I want to know how I can help you." I opened up to you. I confided in you. You listened. You hugged me. You took me to the counselor's becuase you had to do that legally, and I'm thankful you did. The next day you gave me a beautiful journal with zigzags and my favorite colors. You wrote in the front, "YOU are beautiful. YOU are important. Never hide your feelings to the point of letting those feelings corrode you from the inside-out. Write them here, and then let them go. Remember how loved you are, sister. You ARE!" I filled every page. I never told you, but you saved my life. I hope the post above saves someone else's life, too. I wish every teacher was like you.

  4. Anonymous,

    You made me cry. Thank you for those words. I remember you and that day very well... I am so thankful you talked to me. You always expressed yourself in writing with such eloquence and emotion, and you moved so many of us to tears during W.O.W Circle. More than that, you smiled with your entire self, and always had a wise glint in your eyes as you listened carefully to everyone who talked to you. The world would be severely lacking if you left us too soon, sweet darling. I hope whatever it is you are doing in your life, you still know how much you are loved. THANK YOU, again. God bless you! <3

  5. Amanda, You are God's gift to so many people. I love you and am so proud to call you my friend. Michelle

  6. Mrs. S,
    I have been told many times that you are my older twin :) You taught me for about 2 months of my life in Choir, and those were the best two months ever! Every day, no matter how bad the day was going, I would walk in knowing that you had a smile on your face. There are ups and downs in ever persons life, and occasionaly you have a person that makes those ups more frequent, and for me, that was you. Some teachers dont accept you for who you are, and because you were my older twin :), you accepted me, and for that reason you made me want to not change myself for other people. I thank you for being you :)

  7. Amanda,
    With every blog you touch so many lives in so many ways! As a parent, as teacher, as an aunt, as a friend, as a person I THANK YOU for this one! You are an amazing person and such a gift to everyone you touch! Thank you! ~Deb

  8. Wow Amanda! I read what your student wrote above and still have tears in my eyes. You are a powerful presence in so many lives. You inspire me to be a better teacher along the way. Thank you for all of your powerful words!

  9. As I sit here and read your words, I know how truly blessed our children have been to have you in their lives! You are amazing and I can't thank you enough for sharing your words, your thoughts, your feelings with all of us!!! Thank you for being so open!!! Thank you for giving our young children something wonderful that is from your heart.