If We Would Only Believe…

"YES you can" on chalkboardMany people believe that in order to influence teens to make good decisions we have to beat them over the head with the potential consequences of bad decisions or scare them into making good decisions.  I have been telling adults for years that it is not as difficult as they may think to positively influence teens’ decision making.

The following letter will show you just how simple it is:

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Six Things I Learned from a Former Student’s Phone Call

Cell PhoneI received a call Saturday from a soon to be 22 -year-old young lady who served on the leadership team of an after-school club I worked with when she was in high school.  I had not spoken with her since she graduated from high school.

She began by telling me she had wanted to talk with me for a couple years, but had just built up enough courage to call me. She was reluctant to call because she was ashamed of her decision to begin having sex at 19 years old. She was also afraid I would be disappointed in her.

As I listened to her talk about how she was parented and why she made the decision to have sex, I heard some very interesting things that I would like to share with you:

1. Children need rules and want high expectations!

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Why I’m NOT out to Prevent Teen Pregnancies!

iStock_000014737631XSmallDuring the 12 years I have been speaking to students, there have been a number of times when I have left schools feeling so burdened by the state of our culture that my chest literally felt heavy when I walked out the door of the school. Let me tell you about one of those days.

When speaking to a group of 8th grade students, there was a statement made by one of the students that really saddened me.  I was talking about the issue of teen pregnancy and telling them how selfish and unfair it was for teens to make decisions to have sex because that decision could result in an innocent child having to pay the price for their choice if a pregnancy occurs.

A young lady interrupted me to say just because a girl got pregnant as a teenager didn’t mean she couldn’t still make something of her life and give her child a good life.  She used her cousin as an example and said the following:

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Your Life is a Blank Canvas! How will you paint it?

Artist

For the past two weeks, I have been discussing the power of writing a personal vision statement. Two weeks ago I shared how my vision pulled me toward my destiny, and last week I shared the process I use in order to help students understand the importance of writing a personal vision statement.

This week, I am sharing questions that will assist you in discovering your passion as well as questions for writing a personal vision statement.

Passion precedes your vision!

Before you describe the perfect life you want to live in the future, you must first know what you are passionate about. When I left Procter & Gamble 12 years ago, one of the most common comments I heard from my co-workers at the time was how much they admired the fact that I knew what my passion was.  Many of them said they were not happy at P&G, but they did not know what they would do if they left P&G because they had no idea what their passion was.

One of the most common questions I continue to hear from people is, “How do I figure out what my passion is?”

If you are one of those people, the answers to the following questions will help you determine your passion:

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When Life is Puzzling!

2 puzzle piecesLast week my post detailed my experience with writing a vision that pulled me toward my destiny. Based on the number of follow up questions I received, my story apparently resonated with a lot of people.

Several people wanted to know whether I knew I would be speaking to teens about making healthy choices related to sex when I wrote my vision statement, and the answer is “no.” I did not know my current “profession” was even an option. I only knew I was passionate about working with youth.

As a matter of fact, when I wrote my initial vision statement in 1997, I had become very interested in investing and envisioned myself speaking to youth about financial literacy. When I left P&G four years later, my plan was to start an after-school program for girls, helping them grow into successful adults. I then envisioned talking to them not only about financial literacy, but also about goal setting, career planning, healthy lifestyles, etc.

A divine connection at a conference I attended within a month of leaving P&G was my first foray into the field of sex education and youth motivational speaking.

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The Vision that Pulled Me Toward My Destiny!

visionAs I drove to church Sunday, I thought about what a blessing it has been to be able to travel around the state of Georgia for the past three years talking to students, parents and educators thanks to a grant with the Governor’s Office for Children & Families. I have spoken to over 25,000 students in the past three years, though not all of those students have been a result of funding from the GOCF.

As I thanked God for the many opportunities I have had over the past 12 years to have a positive impact on the lives of youth, I could not help but think back to the catalyst that started me on this journey.

Sparking a Vision

It was January 1, 1997 and I had gone to the bookstore in Lima, OH where I was living at the time, to purchase a book about investing. Somehow I ended up with a book in my hand called, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones.

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The Ripple Effect: 2012 Edition

stones in a water

 

I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Theresa

 

Last week I shared here that I was looking forward to the ending of my summer and the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. After reading the post, a friend asked me how many students I had spoken to last year and if I knew how many of them made commitments to abstain from sex.

So I decided to check the numbers and they blew me away. I am now even more motivated to continue casting stones (Yes, even motivational speakers need a little motivation from time to time). 

I wanted to share my results in case they may serve as a source of motivation for you as you cast your stones.

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The End of Good. The Beginning of Great!

End of summerThe reality of the summer coming to an end really set in yesterday as I scheduled my first school assembly of the 2013-2014 school year.

Wow! Where has the time gone? It is hard to believe that I am going into my 13th school year of inspiring youth to dream bigger DREAMS, make better DECISIONS and walk into their DESTINIES!

I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!

It seems like only yesterday when I made the decision to follow my passion instead of my purse, which has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

People often ask me whether it was scary to leave a successful career to go in a direction where I had no idea how I would get paid, and my answer is always “No!” Surprisingly, it was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made.

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Lessons from a Great Father!

 

 

It is easier to build strong boys than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass

 

 

Last week I introduced you to Mr. Charles Johnson, who raised an adult son who made and has kept a commitment to wait until marriage for sex. In today’s post I will share Part 2 of my interview with Mr. Johnson. 

Before I share some of the actual questions and answers, there are a couple things that really stood out to me during the interview that warrant mentioning. 

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The Measure of Manhood

In February of 2012, I was speaking for a youth organization and the young ladies in the audience began lamenting about how it would be impossible to find a young man who would be willing to wait for sex even if they had decided to wait.  

To their surprise, a very handsome 27-year-old volunteer stood up and quickly informed them that there were guys out there that were waiting and he was one of them. This young man was Terrell Johnson.

Terrell attributed his decision to abstain from sex until he is married to the message his father gave him when he was young, a message that has continued throughout his adult years. The more I talked to Terrell about his decision, the more I realized that I had to meet his father, Mr. Charles Johnson.

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