Why me? Well, because the motivational speaker canceled and Mrs. Dana was desperate. I jokingly told her, " I could do my 'Are you stupid class' where I talk about all of the stupid things teenagers do to mess up their lives." I was not serious at all. When I get frustrated with the stupid things kids do, I always say that I should teach a class about HOW stupid the stupid things teenagers do are!
Well, the joke was on me, because that was exactly what Mrs. D. wanted she wanted someone to talk to them about self-respect and always representing your family and the dance company to the best of your ability.
So I toned it down a little and called it "Take Control of Your Life". It focused on the 1st two Habits of Sean Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers:
1. Be Proactive- Be in control of yourself and your choices. You can not control what happens to yourself but you can control how you react to it. It is the habit of choice.
2. Begin with the End in Mind- Think about how you want things to end up: be it at the end of a test, at the end of a semester, at the end of high school...at the end of your life. What do you want to accomplish? What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? Now, what do you need to do to accomplish these endings?
Here is the PowerPoint Presentation I used:
(Beware: It is not for the faint of heart. It was meant to honestly communicate with teenagers when they need it the most. I did not sugar coat anything. I honestly spoke with them in hopes of maybe getting through to one or two of their pretty little heads!)
1. Drinking: (paraphrased) I know you are going to drink. I am not going to tell you not to. I wish you wouldn't but I am being realistic. I just want to explain to you why it is a bad idea and why you need to be safe if you choose to drink. There is a reason why the drinking age is 21. It is because the human body is not equipped to deal with the effects of alcohol until it is developed completely. That is why evertime I drank in high school I spent the next day throwing up and feeling like I wanted to die. I told them about the only time I ever drove after drinking and how I prayed to God the entire time to help make it. I discussed horrible decisions that I made because of alcohol.
2. Stunts: This was pretty simple. Are you stupid? Do you not value yourself more than to try to be cool to the point that you are endangering your life? Think about everything you do and how it could go wrong. Is it really worth it?
I spoke to them about drugs (all kinds) and sex (how to understand that everytime you do something you are losing a special piece of yourself that you can't get back.) We talked about reckless driving and how you need to slow down and how that text can wait.
Choosing to Love Yourself: This part focused on changing the way you think about yourself, boys, bullies, and friends. We did an activity where they sat in front of the mirror and for every negative things they thought about themselves they had to write something positive. It was amazing to see a whole wall of mirrors full of turning the negative thoughts they thinking about themselves into positive ones.
Near the end, we focused on Beginning with the End in Mind. I asked them to think about what would happen if on the way home they were killed in a car accident. What would one of your team members say for your eulogy? Then they spread out around the room and wrote the eulogies that they would hope someone would read at their funeral. They were asked to think about whether or not they needed to change to be that person.
For our final activity, the students lined up along the wall with a piece of paper. They wrote their name in the center of the paper. They left the papers in a line and then they rotated down the line of papers until they had wrote one positive thing about each person. When they returned to their paper, they had a positive comment from every person in the group. It was awesome to see their faces as they read the good things their teammates said about them.
Here are the videos I showed them: