Living with a couple of pre-teen girls makes me privy to a lot of topics that I had completely forgotten about.
One of these things is the desire of young people to be popular.
Now, we all know that this isn’t a new thing*, but it does seem to be happening at a much younger age now. I would estimate a full two grades younger around here; maybe more in an urban setting.* Remember these two? Needless to say, I have watched the whole series. Add that to my experience of wanting to be popular myself, and you get a chance to learn from my, and other’s, mistakes. School is a tough racket, but I think I have a few tidbits of advice to help you kids make it to adulthood with your sense of self intact.
1. Be nice to people.
That’s it. Just be nice to people. Whether they can help you in any way or not, treat them with kindness and respect, until a time comes that they don’t deserve it. Don’t assume that because someone doesn’t “fit in” with the people that you consider cool, that those people aren’t worth your friendship. They usually are.
I say “usually”, because some people are mean, and it doesn’t matter what you do. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be kind to them too, I’m just saying that I don’t expect you to go out of your way. That doesn’t mean you can treat them poorly though. There is a reason that they are angry, and it’s probably because their life isn’t as charmed as yours is.
While you think you have it tough when you don’t get all of the things that your friends have, some kids only get to look forward to abuse and cruelty when they get home. Consider that before you take any actions toward them. They probably have enough crap to deal with after school.
2. Always stand up for what you think is right.
Throughout your life you will see injustice firsthand. Don’t be party to it, and don’t ignore it, just because it “isn’t your problem”. Remember: a fat lip or a bloody nose only hurts for a short while, but your memories can haunt you for a lifetime. If you see something that needs to be stopped; stop it. You will feel proud of yourself, and you might even get a cool scar to show your kids when they ask about the time you saved Suzanne’s* mom from a bunch of bullies.
* It will probably be something like Trinzy’s mom, but I keep dreaming of names staying quasi-normal for a few years.
3. Conduct yourself with honour and integrity.
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
Take it from me, lying and being sneaky will bring you nothing but grief and poor sleep. When I was young, I used to lie all the time. I thought it worked out well for me.
Sure, you might get away with it for a while, but in the end you’ll be in a confession booth or therapist’s chair, and you’ll probably melt someone’s mind with the fury in which you unleash your guilt. This isn’t healthy for anyone, so if you feel like being dishonest about something; choose your words wisely. They can come back to bite you twice as hard if they aren’t true.
4. Listen to others, but think for yourself.
Some of this stuff I practiced from an early age, but most of it I have adopted after seeing that it was much better than the way I was doing it. I really wish I had listened to my folks and my heart instead of people who weren’t going to matter in the end. Always consider the source when getting advice on anything. Your heart will tell you what to do, and as long as you aren’t evil, it is probably pretty close to correct.
I guess that’s about it for now. If you follow these, and a whole bunch of other rules, you will find that as you get older, you will never be without friends that are as true to as you are to them.
No matter where you go.
Someone I’ll always laugh with, even at my worst I’m best with you,