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Teen Guide For Life

Teenagers’ lives are full of challenges, pressures and problems. Teens are very busy from sun up to sundown, with very little time to consider values and character development. Sometimes teens are called upon to respond to issues and challenges in their day to day lives to which they have never given any serious thought.

Newness of Life Ministries has produced a ‘Teen Guide For Life’, full of very important principals and things teens need to think about before they are confronted with serious issues that can affect the rest of their lives. The purpose of this guide is to help teens consider many different life situations…before they encounter them.

To arrange a speaking engagement, contact Phillip Saxton through our contact page. Mr. Saxton will be happy to speak to your teen groups, sports teams or clinics.

Preface

Teenagers’ lives are full of challenges, pressures and problems. Teens are very busy from sun up to sundown, with very little time to consider values and character development. Sometimes teens are called upon to respond to issues and challenges in their day to day lives to which they have never given any serious thought.

The purpose of this guide is to help teens consider many different life situations…before they encounter them.

If you have not already confronted many of the issues addressed in this book…you will.

Acknowledgements

I want to thank Colonel Nimrod “Mac” McNair, President of the Executive Leadership Foundation, for his friendship, encouragement and support. The idea for “The Teen Guide For Life” is taken from Colonel McNair’s “Executive Guide to Ethical Decision Making”.

This executive guide has been used around the world to influence and train corporate executives and managers.

I also want to thank Rick Fowler, a good friend who painstakingly worked though this teen guide and provided great input for the “Lessons to Learn” list at the end of the booklet.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my wife, Ruth Saxton, for her continued encouragement and support.

The average teen – regardless of their cultural background, socioeconomic level, race, or ethnicity – meets with serious life challenges, pressures and influences for which they may have no basis of understanding, or knowledge of how to react. Indeed, many teens cannot even explain why they feel the way they do. They do not have the frame of reference, vocabulary, experience or wisdom to deal with many events in their lives.

The purpose of this booklet is to provide teens with ten stories that may be similar to what they will probably encounter in real life. A number of questions are posed after each story, and those questions are followed by a more detailed discussion of the values involved.

This booklet can be used by individual teens as a personal guide, or in a group or class setting with a leader who facilitates discussion among groups of teens. Teens are encouraged to share their experiences and ideas, and to share with others how they would react in each story.

Teens should spend time thinking about each of the ten stories and their associated values. When confronted with similar situations in life, the teen will have a basis upon which to make wise decisions.

At the end of this booklet is a list of the top sixty lessons that young people need to learn. This list is provided for each teen to think about and discuss with their friends, relatives, teachers, coaches and parents. We suggest that you take several days or weeks going through and thinking about this list.

The top ten principles in this booklet are ancient, have applied to teens and others for thousands of years. They have endured the test of time and are the only known words written directly by the finger of God. These principles are commonly known as The Ten
Commandments.

Principle 1 — You shall have no other gods before Me

God should be the most important Being in your life. The primary source of pleasure in your life should be from pleasing Him. 

There was a young man named Frank who was lured into a lustful relationship with Sara, who was three years older. She had already dropped out of high school because she did not want to follow the rules of getting to school on time and doing her homework. After several months of serious involvement, Sara became pregnant. Sara needed medical care, and neither Frank nor Sara wanted to tell their parents. They needed money, but without a job and education, Frank could not supply their needs.

One day while sitting around with Robert drinking beer, Frank was asked by Robert to join him in driving a car to a gas station that had plenty of money. All Frank had to do was to pull up in front of the station door and Robert would pull a mask over his head, run in and demand money. They would easily get enough to take Sara to see a doctor. But something went wrong. Robert shot the gas station clerk, and in Frank’s haste to get to safety, he crash the car. Both were caught and given life in prison.

Frank’s parents could not believe what happened and fell into deep despair.

Where did Frank, Sara and Robert go wrong? All three rejected authority.

What could they have done differently?

As a teenager, you are subjected to many people who have authority over you. Why?

Why is it important for teens to respect authority, and on what basis is this authority given to others?

The source of all true authority is God Himself. It is given for several purposes:

  1. To bring about order in society. Without order, society would not be safe and would result in chaos, making it impossible for children and teens to live in peace.
  2. God has vested His authority 1) in family, 2) in governments, and 3) in schools and public institutions.
  3. God has vested His authority in rules supported by God-ordained individuals and institutions.

There are those who do not respect authority and are dedicated to destroying the authority of God. Their strategy is simple:

  1. They appeal to the ego, pride and desire for independence of the individual.
  2.  They redirect attention away from God-given and supported activities.
  3. They encourage disobedience to God-given authority.
  4. They appeal to selfishness.
  5. They rebel against all God-vested authorities, including parents, establishing themselves as the primary authority.

Principle 2 — You should not make for yourself an idol

Putting God in any position in your life other than first is a serious mistake. God
does not want to be ignored or taken for granted.

Edward was a smart student and often found his schoolwork easy to perform. He had never failed a class and was content in being an average student. After school, Edward would either play basketball or video games, rarely paying much attention in doing homework or turning in assignments on time. But because Edward was smart, he did not worry about getting an occasional zero on homework, thinking that he would make it up on the next exam.

Because of this attitude, Edward finished school with a C+ average and did not qualify for a scholarship. As a result, he was not able to get into the college of his choice or receive financial aid. Statistics show that, in a lifetime, the average college graduate will make twice the amount of money than a high school graduate.

What was Edward’s mistake?

Other than getting a job, why is learning important?

Are there people in society who do not want you learn?

What does God consider an idol? The answer is any person or thing that takes precedent over God Himself. In other words, more time and devotion is spent on these things than on God or God-ordained activities.

Most teens have many idols. Some of these are music, cell phones, sports, cool clothing, cars, TV and movies, relationships, video games, etc. In addition, many teens admire people who are in the entertainment and sports areas. On the surface, many activities involving electronics and celebrities may seem harmless and, when enjoyed in moderation, they may be. The problem occurs when you love, admire or treasure something or
someone more than God.

Teens do not do as well in school or in families when their attention is constantly divided among idols. It is difficult to serve two or more masters.

What should teens do? First, they should select a goal or goals that they know would please God. It does not matter if the goals later change. It is just simply necessary that teens grow up with a God-honoring purpose. These goals should be discussed with parents and other people in authority in the teen’s life for their advice and input. Once goals have been determined, they should be written down and referred to weekly.

Some of the risky behaviors that result from worshiping things other than God are: smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, crime, driving under the influence, participation in cliques including gangs, and materialism.

Principle 3 — You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

A young girl named Yolanda came home depressed saying that she hated school. Her mother tried unsuccessfully to console her and ask if anyone had hurt her or said mean things to her. Yolanda shook her head no. The mother went on to ask if her teachers got on her case, or if her coach yelled at her. Yolanda replied, “No mother, this may surprise you, but I really like my teachers.” Her mother asked her, “What’s wrong, then?” Yolanda simply said, “I don’t know. I am going to my room to take a nap.”

If her mother had been in the school that day, she would have understood what was wrong with her daughter. You see, her daughter had witnessed several verbal fights in school where names were called, profanity was flying back and forth, and even the Lord was cursed. No one even addressed Yolanda, but just being around this kind of talk was spiritually draining for her. Nothing about the experience was positive, and the result was that it just brought everyone down. Of course, Yolanda did not say anything at the time, because their scorn would have been turned on her. And, she did not tell her teachers because to be a tattle-tale, in her mind, is the worse thing she could have done.

When one person is negative, how can that affect others?

Should Yolanda have spoken out?

God gave us the ability to communicate, and the languages with which to communicate. All languages are known by God. He is even able to understand your heart when you are unable to communicate your feelings. There are times when we feel something, but we are unable to communicate these feelings because we do not have the vocabulary or experience with which to express our feelings.

There are times when I ask my own children what is wrong and the answer is, “I don’t know.” Or sometimes teens are sad, and when you inquire as to what’s wrong, the answer is, “I don’t know.” When this happens, it means that the experience is so complicated, feels so bad, or causes excitement over something that is wrong for the person, that they simply cannot explain or do much about it except laugh, cry or remain silent.

This principle not only covers using bad language such as profanity, but also effective communication and prayer. Communication is between two or more personalities. It means that a message or truth is spoken or written, interpreted and returned to the initiator with a meaning and spirit consistent with its intent.

There are some concepts, ideas and meanings that are difficult to understand without having an extensive vocabulary and prior knowledge with which to interpret the meaning. This is true in all areas of study, including religious books and the Bible. God does not want us to remain simple, but He wants His relationship with us to be developed over time into a mature relationship. This requires growth in understanding truth.

Our actions and communication should honor God, our family, our community, our schools/institutions and our work place. The objective is to make others – especially God – proud. The reverse is also true. You should not bring dishonor and embarrassment to God and to others.

Principle 4 — Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy

Rest is a necessity for living an effective life.

Arnetta, a young woman who understands the importance of rest, always tries to get in bed early on Saturday night. Early on Sunday morning, she likes to take a bath, dress in something comfortable and beautiful and take a short walk to enjoy the sounds of the day and pick a beautiful rose if one is blooming. The air in the morning is so fresh, and when she returns home, she has a little breakfast while reading her Bible.

Later, she goes to church with her younger brother and drops him off at Sunday school. She enjoys the worship service and the encouraging conversations she has with her friends and some of the elders in the church. The choir music is so uplifting and her spirit begins to be filled with joy.

The day has been refreshing, like a vacation day. Arnetta feels happy to be alive.

Why is rest so important — especially the night before the Sabbath?

Is it wise to stay up late every night?

The Sabbath day is a day of rest. God in His infinite wisdom made man/woman to work hard during the week and to rest one day per week. This rest is important. It does not mean a time of play, but it is a time of contemplation of the blessings God has bestowed. It is a time to thank Him for His help and deliverance from difficult situations. It is also a time of worship –a time to put God first. It is a time of prayer, a time to praise Him. And, it is a time to be of encouragement to others.

Most everyone I know or have ever known tries to live in ways contrary to their own best interest. For example, we like to stay up all night playing games, partying or watching movies. We eat late, go to bed at terrible hours with the TV on or with headphones in our ears. Our sleep is fitful and it is almost impossible to get up, get dressed and get to school or work on time. We often miss breakfast, the most important meal of the day, and run out of the house huffing, puffing and rushing, trying to get somewhere on time.

We often don’t recognize the Evil One’s strategy. Satan’s strategy is to keep everyone busy 24/7. He does not want you to have time to pray. Certainly not time to thank God, or even to think about Him. He wants to fill our heads with all kinds of things, the more evil the better. When we wake up in the morning, the TV or radio goes on, if it is not simply left on from the night before. When we leave the house, we grab our MP3 players, cell phone and ear plugs, so that as soon as we get in the car or on the school bus, we can immediately start entertaining ourselves. We don’t want to talk about anything or even observe anything. When we have a little down time, then we began to text our friends because if we had half a minute, we might actually observe the beauty of a flower our notice a beautiful sunset. That might make us think about God, and, certainly, Satan will
have none of that.

Principle 5 – Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be
prolonged in the land . . .

Honoring your parents and other God-ordained authorities is self-beneficial. Bob was a young man who always wanted to do things his way. If he could not have his way, he would immediately begin to devise a plan to get what he wanted. It first began by taking a flashlight into his room and sneaking down to the kitchen for extra dessert when he was supposed to be asleep. Later, he learned the value of lying to his parents by telling them that he had no homework because he wanted to play instead. And when he was asked to do chores, he would always wait until he was asked repeatedly, thinking they might forget about it. He learned to put on a front for others, and would even say he was sorry, when in fact, he never really apologized or felt bad about his behavior.

As Bob became a teenager, he would talk back to his parents and was disrespectful to his mother. No matter how nice she was to him, it was not enough because Bob did not care about others – only himself. He never lifted a finger to help in the home and contributed little to the joy of others. You see, Bob was a taker, and as long as people were willing to give him what he wanted, he was happy.

As Bob grew older, it became apparent that he only really wanted to be with his friends. But some of his friends began not to associate with Bob when they saw what he was really like. This left him with friends who also did not honor their parents. And most of the time, they just looked for ways to get in trouble.

Bob had no goals, and his only purpose in life was to have fun. But as he grew older, he kept running into people who would not tolerate his nonsense. He kept bumping into society, and it became obvious to everyone who knew him that one day he would be hurt, and hurt badly.

How would you advise Bob?

What would you want someone to say to you if you behaved this way?

How do you benefit by giving honor?

The first institution God ordained was the institution of the family. Why? God established the family as the foundation for everything else in life. The family is the core of all of society. First, the family affords protection, instruction and health for the young. Second, the family has the first responsibility to teach children a language with which communication can take place. Third, men and women together form a perfect union because of the incomplete nature of each. Fourth, the foundation of moral training and behavior is first established in the family.

Ideally, a family consists of a mother, father and children, but in many cases the family includes extended members and even non-genetic family members, such as neighbors, coaches, friends and other relatives who step in to perform needed family functions involving children.

Honoring family members, especially mothers and fathers, is key to the effective working of civilization. Without honor, sin abounds and the foundation becomes unstable. If you do not honor your parents, it is unlikely that you will honor God. If you do not honor your elders, it is unlikely that you will accept wisdom from others. If you do not honor those who sacrificed for your well being, it is unlikely that you will become contributing members of society. The result of not honoring, therefore, is to attempt to live a life based on doing things your own way, which leads to sin and a shortened, unproductive life.

Principle 6 – You shall not murder

Have respect for the value of human life – including physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual life.

Mary was 17 years old and had just met Tom, who was 18 and about to enter college. The summer before Tom left for school, they spent every waking hour together, going for long walks, working in her mother’s garden, holding hands and dreaming of the future. Mary was falling deeply in love and looked forward to following Tom next year to the college of his choice.

When fall came, it was difficult for them to part, and even though they spent hours talking on the phone and sending text messages to each other, it was difficult being separated. Mary could not wait for the Thanksgiving break when she would be able to see Tom again after he came home from college. Mary knew the flight number of Tom’s returning plane and decided to go out to the airport and surprise him with welcoming gifts.

The plane was late coming in, so Mary sat in clear view of door that the airline passengers would be coming through. After what appeared to be hundreds of people getting off the plane, she saw Tom. But to her horror, he was holding hands with another girl and as they walked off down the concourse, they gently kissed. To make matters worse, Mary knew the girl.

The crushing disappointment that Mary felt was as if she had been stabbed. She could not move because all of her future dreams had been dashed like breaking glassware. This disappointment turned to hate and bitterness during the course of the Thanksgiving break, and Mary knew that if she did not do something, this hurt could greatly affect her.

Should Mary have confronted Tom and the other girl on the spot?

Should Mary keep her hurt inside?

Every person has a name and an identity. Indeed, God Himself knows the names of each person and those who accept Him are given the additional honor of having their names written in a book that only God can open. This means that we should respect every individual as having value and unlimited worth.

Murder is a general term that applies not only to physical termination of life, but also to emotional and spiritual elements of life. We begin with our ability to love ourselves. If we dislike ourselves it is very difficult to love others. Therefore, our first obligation is to love God and our second obligation is to love ourselves. This begins by recognizing that each of us has a name, a purpose in life, and the ability to impact the world in a positive way. But more importantly, each of us has the ability to bring a smile to the face of God.

When you say that you hate someone, it is like murdering that person. But when you hate to that extent, you also murder yourself a little bit at a time. Therefore, it is completely necessary to forgive, even those who deserve hate. It is important to speak kindly, even to those who curse you. It is important to treat them well, even if they
treat you badly. For those who hate you and treat you badly, your best response is to remove your light from them and leave them in darkness. But do not carry their darkness with you.

Principle 7 – You shall not commit adultery

Adultery is infidelity. It is the absence of faithfulness and trustworthiness.

Judy was a wonderful person full of life and laughter. She always had a smile on her face and just being around her brought happiness to all those who knew her. She was an unforgettable person whose smile made you feel better, no matter how bad you felt. She not only loved life, but she also loved God. Judy was committed to Christian service by working with first graders in Sunday school and in vacation Bible school.

The most popular boy in Judy’s school was a star basketball player named Michael. He was tall and handsome, a good student, and was headed for a Big 10 college. All the girls used to swoon over him and everyone went to see him play his basketball games. After the games, he would be surrounded with people wishing him well and telling him how great he was. Around the middle of the season, Michael asked Judy to go to the movies with him. This led to many dates and visits, and everyone thought they were the perfect couple. Their future was assured and scholarships would be available for them both.

Life could not have been more perfect until Michael started pressuring Judy to have sex with him. He told Judy that everyone is doing it and if she was not going to accommodate him, he would just have to find another girlfriend. She said that she would think about it. After several dates which included heavy petting, Judy barely escaped her own desire to have sex with Michael, but finally just told him no – that no matter how much she loved him, her future family was more important than having sex in the back of Michael’s car. Except for school, that was the last she saw of Michael.

Judy was sad for several months and did not smile much, but deep down she knew that to be sad for a few months for the right reason was better than being sad the rest of her life for the wrong reason. She had seen this sadness on the faces of girlfriends who thought they were in love only to realize later that they were just being used.

How do you feel about teens who have sex out of being pressured?

How would you advise your friend in this type of situation?

Men and women coming together in marriage to form a family unit blessed by God provides the underpinning of any civilized nation. The family unit forms the foundation upon which everything else is built, and is therefore to be treasured and developed with care and consideration. There are three important derivatives of the family unit. The first is that the family unit is established for the health and emotional safety of the husband and wife. The second is to raise children. And, the third is to establish character and trustworthiness in each individual that supports interaction with other people, institutions and society.

God created sex for the enjoyment of men and women who are married, and this commitment goes beyond the physical expression to include the emotional and spiritual well being of the couple. Sex is often misused to sell things, to undermine the family unit and to weaken marriage itself. Some men are incomplete without women, and some women are incomplete without men. Marriage and singleness are both honorable
in status, because both can be based on faithfulness and trustworthiness.

Principle 8 – You shall not steal

Only use what you have earned.

Billy’s parents sent him to a private school, bought him a car, provided nice clothes and shoes, took him to church every Sunday, and tried to provide him with good ethical training. But Billy never lifted a finger to help his parents. Even if they ask him to go to the store for them or to pick up the cleaning, he would always grumble. Sometimes he would do what was asked of him but more than likely, he would forget. When his parents would ask him why he did not do what he was told, he would always say, “My bad…I am sorry I’m just not perfect.”

Last summer, Billy’s father got him a job working for an advertising agency. His job was primarily to pick up ads, photos, and take art work to the company’s client for review and approval. On one of these trips, a small retail business gave Billy $650 as a cash payment for an ad to run in the local paper. Billy’s parents has already told him that he had to pay for his own car insurance and that if he did not come up with the payment, he would have to park the car. Because Billy did not save enough money, he said to himself, “I will just borrow this money until the next payday and use it to pay my insurance.” So Billy did not turn the money in to his company.

The next week, when the ad was supposed to run, the ad did not appear because no one had received payment When the client called the company, they explained that they had given the money to Billy.

Should Billy have gone to jail?

Should he have made restitution and should his parents been involved?

Was this Billy’s first theft?

One of the major motivations for stealing is laziness. And oftentimes, this bad character trait is based on looking for ways not to do something that you should be doing. People seem to fall into two broad categories. There are those who hate to do chores, but understand that it is their obligation, and even though they may complain, sometimes bitterly, they do it anyway. The other category is those who tell you they are going to do a chore that they don’t want to do, and hope you will forget or do it yourself, and they delay doing the chore as long as possible.

Every member of a family has obligations to that family. There are many children who think they should be given a free ride, who believe that everyone else in this world is there to provide them with all of their needs without giving anything in return. This is the worst kind of thief.

A child not only has responsibilities in the family, but also needs to accept the fact that their major goal and obligation is to learn, to obtain an education or skill that will both bring honor to the family and provide themselves with the means to take care of their future needs.

To expect to live for free, first from parents and later from others including the government, is to steal. Everyone depends upon others during certain times in their lives, and this may of necessity include receiving help and assistance from others, including the government. But the overall objective of a life well lived is to be a contributor to society, and not simply a taker.

Principle 9 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

Be open, honest, sincere and direct in your conversation and do not repeat anything that you don’t know is completely true or factual. Saying something that you know is not completely true is deception (a lie).

Megan and two of her friends were upset with John because he dropped Megan after swearing that he loved her. He even gave Megan his class ring and talked about building a life together. Megan became more enamored with John and wanted to spend every waking hour with him. This not only affected Megan’s school work, but John, who as an outgoing person, wanted to get involved in many school activities that did not include Megan. After months of constant phone calls and text messages, John decided after talking with his friends that Megan’s constant need to be around him was very distracting and ultimately made him unhappy. So he told Megan that he just wanted to cool things off for awhile.

Megan was so upset that she and her friends begin to secretly contact John through one of the social networking sites. They put up a false photo of a girl in another state that said she was interested in John. Some of these photos were very suggestive, and with the test messages were designed to get a reaction from John that would ultimately be embarrassing for him. After several months of this deception, many of John’s most embarrassing comments were posted on the Internet along with his photograph.

Can you think of some ways that lying has hurt people you know?

Why is it important to tell the truth?

Would you lie for your friend?

We learn how to lie at an early age. It is much easier to have someone else take the blame for something we did, so as children we learn to lie to cover up our moral failings. We lie because we do not want to personally face the consequences of our actions. But this type of behavior can lead to other kinds of deception.

As children, when we learn that lying works, our lying is developed to gain advantages for ourselves based on untruths. This is premeditated and is much more serious in that people may make decisions based totally on an untruth.

Later, we begin to embellish our stories not simply to educate or entertain, but to gain some personal advantage. Lying begins to take on very sophisticated forms and may even lead to business Ponzi schemes for the purpose of defrauding money from others.

Lying is a serious sin. When you lie it can indicate that there is a serious character deficiency. We must guard against fraud and establish a reputation for honesty and integrity. Personal honesty and integrity are fundamental for building relationships, and the lack thereof can negatively impact those we love.

Principle 10 – You shall not covet

Recognize the value of what you have and be grateful for what you have achieved. Appreciate your blessings.

William was a good man in his late 70’s who experienced some hard times growing up. He often told stories of how on Christmas morning, there might have been no gifts except for an apple and a single piece of candy. You see, William lived during the great depression when people stood in long lines for just a bowl of thin soup, and on lucky days a piece of cheese. In raising his family, William vowed to God that he would never waste anything and that he would do his best not to have his children go hungry.

Grandpa Will (as he is now known) successfully raised his children and sent them both to college. With their degrees they were able to get good jobs. Their income allowed them to provide many extras for Grandpa Will’s grandchildren. Income that was used to spoil his grandchildren, who were not taught the values he had taught his children – wasting not, and saving for a rainy day.

One Saturday afternoon, Grandpa Will’s grandchildren came for a visit. They were all decked out in the latest popular clothing and shoes, playing with video games and complaining that their parents would not purchase the latest X-Box for them. They kept talking about how they wished they could have the things other children had, and how mean their parents were for not giving them what they wanted. They kept asking Grandpa Will if he would take them to the mall and buy them some new video games.

Why is desiring something or someone that someone else has a sin?

Is not being content with what you have a sin?

Is coveting the same as wishing or dreaming?

The behavior of Grandpa Will’s grandchildren saddened him because he knew that his grandchildren did not appreciate his own sacrifice, nor the hard work of their parents. But most importantly, they did not appreciate the blessings that God had provided. They did not think about all the things that they had, but only the things they did not have.

One of the primary objectives of growing up is to be able to live on your own and provide for yourself This means that you should use all of your resources to develop you mind, gain wisdom from others, and employ what you learn to earn a living. The things your parents give you and make available to you should be viewed as blessings from God, no matter how great or small. If you ever think that you do not have much, you must immediately understand that you could have much less.

Your task is to take what you have, treasure it, and use it to build skills that will allow you to earn all the things you want and need. This removes the desire to have something simply because someone else has it.

The Top Sixty Lessons Young Men and Women Need To Learn

This list is provided to be used in discussions with your friends, parents, neighbors and associates. Use it around the dinner table or at lunch, perhaps after practice or going for a walk in the park. You might send them to your friends using text messaging, or talk about them while just hanging out with your friends.

Take each one seriously. Think about it. Ask your friends what it means to them. Your discussion of these ideas and thoughts will help you mature and to become a better person.

  1. Thoreau said that most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. What he meant was that
    most of us are resigned to lead lives trapped between complete dissatisfaction with
    our situation and the total fear of change.
  2. While it is critical to have goals, life is about the journey. Live today as if it were your
    last. Greet your family and friends as though you might never see them again.
  3. Life is full of loss, rejection, failure, betrayal and disappointment. Are you tough
    enough to THRIVE, and not just survive?
  4. Accepting those things over which we have no control is essential to persevering in
    the world. But denying those things over which we have control is irresponsible, self
    deceiving, and immature.
  5. Many of life’s dramas and crises may be avoided by understanding that dramas and
    crises often result from bad choices we make that can only be avoided by not making the bad choice in the first place. (For example, drug use results in physical, mental, emotional, family and legal drama/crisis).
  6. Words, actions, behaviors and attitudes have both intended and unintended consequences. Before you proceed, prepare to accept what is to follow.
  7. Have conscious expectations…unconscious expectations lead to unexpected disappointments.
  8. Make conscious choices, and fully consider the consequences. A decision to do nothing is a decision nonetheless.
  9. Expect that you will be caught in your wrongdoing. Plan to suffer the consequences.
  10. You must be able to do something for a living that has value to other people and to society.
    a. Take care of yourself and your family
    b. Define success for yourself: what must you do to achieve this success?
    c. Determine your values
    d. Ask yourself how much you value your reputation
  11. Learn to teach yourself how to learn and think.
  12. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  13. Do whatever you want constructively with your time remaining after you have fulfilled your obligations.
  14. Respect other people.
    a. Show people how to treat you by treating them well
    b. Dress how you want people to perceive you
    c. Use language that reflects how you want people to perceive you
  15. Seek wisdom and criticism from others; listen and evaluate what they say.
  16. You are responsible for your attitudes and beliefs.
    a. How you react is up to you
    b. The source of most anger is not getting what you want
    c. Negative thoughts breed unhappiness and discontentment
    d. Live in peace with all people
    e. You are responsible for your own happiness
  17. Become an independent, self-sufficient person – only then do you have the capacity to give love to others.
  18. Two co-dependent people will not a strong relationship make. Two independent selfsufficient
    people may learn interdependence and ultimately build a strong relationship.
  19. Do not look outside yourself for validation. It will not come, and it only opens you up to manipulation for the benefit if others.
  20. Take some time for yourself after you leave your parents’ home.
    a. Learn how to be totally responsible for one person
    b. Follow your dreams, and build your life story – one that is worth telling
    c. Only you can make yourself happy; learn to do it
  21. Be careful who you marry.
    a. The 2nd most important decision in life, 90% of all your future pleasure and misery come from this one decision
    b. Gain wisdom from others by discussing your decision process
    c. Being “in love” does not necessarily mean that you can build a life with this person
    d. Bring to the marriage a set of positive experiences gained from others
    e. You are not ready for marriage until you have discussed the HARD questions
    f. You are not ready for marriage until you have shared all of your darkest secrets
  22. Understand the consequences of risky behavior to your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health.
    a. Sex
    b. Drinking/drugs
    c. Relationships
    d. Friends
    e. Getting pregnant (a disproportionate amount of this consequence falls on females)
    f. Not putting forth effort
    g. Sports
    h. Partying
    i. Money management
    j. Having a job
    k. Driving
    l. Crime
  23. Take care of your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health.
  24. You cannot control anyone else, just yourself; you cannot change anyone else, just yourself.
  25. Self esteem comes from self confidence, which comes from self discipline, which comes from self respect, which starts with self love.
  26. How can you make society and this world a better place?
  27. Seek not the approval of fools, but rather the criticisms of wise men.
  28. Failure is an event. How you handle failure is more important than having failed.
  29. The notions of fairy tale romantic love are foolishness.
    a. He/she does not complete you. Only when you are complete in yourself can you have a meaningful relationship with another
    b. He/she cannot read your mind. Expecting them to just know what you want
    and need is setting yourself up for disappointment
    c. If you don’t know what you want and need, how can you expect another to know?
    d. He/she is NOT RESPONSIBLE for your happiness.
  30. What are the sources of assumptions? Why assume when you can ask or make it clear?
  31. Excuses are common. Everyone has plenty of them.
  32. The shortage of money is not the root cause of most money problems. It is the failure to manage what you have.
  33. Disagreements over money and sex are the most common reasons for divorce.
  34. To become good at any pursuit one must work hard at mastering it
  35. There are only 3 ways to learn: reading, observing and experience. And while some lessons can only be learned by experience, reading is most often the easiest way to learn, followed by observation, and then experience.
  36.  There are 3 types of work: work using your back, work using your hands, or work using your brain. You choose the type of work you are employed at by your preparation or lack of preparation.
  37. Recognize the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
  38. What is success in life? Hint: It cannot be measured in dollars.
  39. Do your best. Know the difference between what you can do and what is your best.
  40. Can’t lives on Won’t Street.
  41. Being late is a sign of disrespect.
  42. Honor your commitments – even if they cost you personally.
  43. Mastery is a matter of choice.
  44. Life is about learning lessons.
  45. Learning is a life-long activity.
  46. We will repeat a lesson until we master it, and then there will be another lesson.
  47. Life must, for the most part, be managed: time, money, weight, fitness, career, children, continuing education, friends, and activities all need goals, plans, limits, and prioritization. Without management, life will tend toward chaos and crisis.
  48. Question all your beliefs (self image, body image, relationships, work, career, marriage, etc.) and determine if they are valid and have a basis in fact. Avoid F.E.A.R. – False Evidence that Appears Real.
  49. Keep a journal.
  50. Be impeccable with your words.
  51. Do not assume you understand another’s reasons or motivations.
  52. Don’t take it personally.
  53. Do your best.
  54. Believe little of what you hear and 50% of what you read. Do your homework.
  55. Know the difference between spontaneous and impulsive.
  56. Don’t take yourself too seriously; laugh at yourself.
  57. Admit your mistakes.
  58. Learn to ask for forgiveness. Forgive others without their asking. Forgiveness is for the benefit of the forgiver.
  59. Don’t let play substitute for work. When you play, play. When you work, work.
  60. Find at least one wise friend. The requirement is that he or she must be 30 or more years older.