An Open Letter to Teenagers

Hello,

Who I am is irrelevant, suffice to say that I am an American in his early teens. More importantly, I am young.

You know when we were really little, and they fed us that crap about how we're the future? Hell, we were too busy back then to care. It didn't matter what would happen when we were older, as long as Pokemon and Power Rangers were still around.

But guess what.

It wasn't all crap.

I am not a motivational speaker, hired to make you sit still in your class room and be happy about it.

I am not your parents, reminding you that you must trudge through endless hours of work to make yourself truly successful.

When I was little, just like all of us, I had my own ideas. I thought that we were all here for a reason, and that everything that happened was part of a plan. I don't even mean that in a religious sort of way, I just liked to think that nothing I did was meaningless. I suppose I don't believe that anymore. Not to get emo, but I've seen too much pain to truly believe that everything that happens has a reason behind it.

I am not a lecturer, hired to make the most mundane aspects of your life come alive for you.

I am not a priest, or a rabbi, or a prayer leader, or a monk, trained to make you believe that the only real happiness can come after you die.

I'm just me.

And I have a point to make.

The thing is, I've watched us. I've watched us for a long time now and, well, the truth is… This just isn't working.

We divide ourselves into little groups based on the clothes we wear and the music we listen to, and we stick to them. Those of us who care enough divide ourselves even further, taking up names like "liberal" and "conservative" to account for our need to generalize our political beliefs. And then, we laugh. That's the most important part of the teenage experience: Finding something new to laugh at. We laugh at the other groups, we laugh at each other, we laugh at those who are different, we laugh at ourselves, and we laugh at the world. And if you can't laugh… Then you're only going to get laughed at.

Well I'm tired of laughing.

What I'm asking is big. It hasn't happened at least since the sixties, and I don't think any adults expect it to happen now.

But we have to try.

What I'm asking is for us to rise above what the world thinks of us, and the way we are.

What I'm asking is for us to forget about all of our stereotypical crap, and dedicate ourselves to something more important than our MP3 players.

What I'm asking is, just this once, for us to care.

Think about who you are. Think about where you fit in, and the decisions you've made. Think about yourself as a little kid, and imagine every single one of your memories leading straight up to right now.

What have you done? What lives have you touched?

Think carefully.

You are not the clothes you wear.

You are not the music on your iPod.

You are not the slang you use, or whatever you choose to poison your body with.

We've got to wake up. The next time you see someone who needs help… Help them. The next time you see someone being a jerk, call them out on it. The next time someone tells you you can't make a difference, you don't need to respond. Just make it. And to do that, you don't need to be a goth, or a prep, or an emo, or a punk, or nerd. That only makes things harder. You just have to be you.

This letter isn't to teenagers in particular. It should be taken to heart by anyone who it applies to, whether they be in Middle School, High School, college, or older. But I feel that teenagers are the ones who need it the most badly.

Forget about all the boundaries we've made to pen ourselves in. Forget about your prejudices, and what society has taught you.

Be a good human.

Wake up.

Change the world.

Rise above.

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font face"courier new" center u font size"6" An Open Letter to Teenagers /font /u /center br br font size"2" b Hello /b , br br Who I am is irrelevant, suffice to say that I am an American in his early teens. More importantly, I am young. br br You know when we were really little, and they fed us that crap about how we're the future? Hell, we were too busy back then to care. It didn't matter what would happen when we were older, as long as Pokemon and Power Rangers were still around. br br But guess what. br It wasn't all crap. br br I am not a motivational b speaker /b , hired to make you sit still in your class room and be happy about it. br br I am not your b parents /b , reminding you that you must trudge through endless hours of work to make yourself truly successful. br br When I was little, just like all of us, I had my own ideas. I thought that we were all here for a reason, and that everything that happened was part of a plan. I don't even mean that in a religious sort of way, I just liked to think that nothing I did was meaningless. I suppose I don't believe that anymore. Not to get emo, but I've seen too much pain to truly believe that everything that happens has a reason behind it. br br I am not a b lecturer /b , hired to make the most mundane aspects of your life come alive for you. br br I am not a b priest /b , or a rabbi, or a prayer leader, or a monk, trained to make you believe that the only real happiness can come after you die. br br b I'm just me. /b br And I have a point to make. br br The thing is, I've watched us. I've watched us for a long time now and, well, the truth is… This just isn't working. br br We divide ourselves into little groups based on the clothes we wear and the music we listen to, and we stick to them. Those of us who care enough divide ourselves even further, taking up names like "liberal" and "conservative" to account for our need to generalize our political beliefs. And then, we laugh. That's the most important part of the teenage experience: Finding something new to laugh at. We laugh at the other groups, we laugh at each other, we laugh at those who are different, we laugh at ourselves, and we laugh at the world. And if you can't laugh… Then you're only going to get laughed at. br br Well I'm b tired /b of laughing. br br What I'm asking is big. It hasn't happened at least since the sixties, and I don't think any adults expect it to happen now. br But we have to try. br br What I'm asking is for us to rise above what the world thinks of us, and the way we are. br What I'm asking is for us to forget about all of our stereotypical crap, and dedicate ourselves to something more important than our MP3 players. br What I'm asking is, just this once, for us to care. br br Think about who you are. Think about where you fit in, and the decisions you've made. Think about yourself as a little kid, and imagine every single one of your memories leading straight up to right now. br br What have you done? What lives have you touched? br Think carefully. br br You are not the clothes you wear. br br You are not the music on your iPod. br br You are not the slang you use, or whatever you choose to poison your body with. br br We've got to wake up. The next time you see someone who needs help… Help them. The next time you see someone being a jerk, call them out on it. The next time someone tells you you can't make a difference, you don't need to respond. Just make it. And to do that, you don't need to be a goth, or a prep, or an emo, or a punk, or nerd. That only makes things harder. You just have to be you. br br This letter isn't to teenagers in particular. It should be taken to heart by anyone who it applies to, whether they be in Middle School, High School, college, or older. But I feel that teenagers are the ones who need it the most badly. br br Forget about all the boundaries we've made to pen ourselves in. Forget about your prejudices, and what society has taught you. br Be a good human. br br Wake up. br Change the world. br b Rise above. /b /font br /font