I have learnt many things from young people including that having a skill is great, but having the skill of perseverance is more important. You can develop this skill-just keep trying, no matter what.
I hope that you don’t get pregnant too-early, but if it happens you probably need to involve your parents if at all possible. Here’s an article from Sex, etc. to help you tell your parents, http://sexetc.org/info-center/post/how-to-tell-your-parents-youre-pregnant/. Be brave and good luck.
Did you know that teens in the U.S. are waiting longer to have sex now than they did in the 1990s? This is good news because too-early sexual activity can lead to too-early pregnancy and STDs because unfortunately adolescents don’t do a good job of using condoms or contraception. If you want to know more about adolescent sexual health, actually about sexual health generally, check out the Guttmacher Institute. I found the information about adolescents waiting to have sex there.
I am a big supporter of young people participating in sports. The young people I know who do sports care about eating healthy and usually do better with their schoolwork when they are doing their sport. However, some athletes forgot what is important. Here’s a quote from the great basketball coach John Wooden that all athletes would do well to remember, “What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.”
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, GLSEN, has been around for 20 years. GLSEN works to make schools places where everyone, of every sexual orientation and gender, is respected and valued. One way GLSEN does this is by surveying the school climates in all of the states to determine whether LGBT students are safe. Here’s the website for GLSEN, http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html, you’ll find the survey there.
Today, I read about another young man being shot and killed. Here’s what I wrote once and think every time there is a gun shot death, “my deepest condolences on another life needlessly lost.”
Here is a video with some thoughts about mindfulness from young people. It is from the Kelty Mental Health Center of the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver Canada. Enjoy.
A recent study found that an increasing percentage of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their teens against HPV. This is so concerning because the HPV vaccine is really an anti-cancer vaccine. Did you know that HPV causes most of the cases of cervical cancer and can cause penile cancer? Why would any parent not want to protect their teen against cancer if they could? You can find out more about this study here, http://www.healthychildren.org/English/News/pages/Why-Teens-Still-Are-Behind-on-Recommended-Vaccines.aspx.
If you visit the web site of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and look in the top right corner-there it is, the count. It is the count of the number of people shot in the U.S. so far this year and the number shot today. So far more than 20,500 people have been shot this year. We really are better than this.
“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”
I often meet people, many of them young people, who are involved with someone who does not treat them properly, often by cheating on them. Yea, I don’t want the young person to stay in this type of relationship, but sometimes they do. The only thing that makes this better is when the young person makes sure that they or their partner is using contraception and condoms. Why make this all worse by becoming a parent or getting an STD?
This is a great video of California Conservation Corps (CCC) members teaching their boss to dance. The motto of the CCC is “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions…and more!” Young people 18-25 in the CCC spend a year working outdoors to improve California’s natural resources. It sure looks like fun!
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.”
I went to a presentation by the African Development Center (ADC) of Minnesota today. This organization helps the African communities in Minnesota start businesses, but does many other things also. For example, adolescents can also learn about business through the ADC College Bound Entrepreneur program. Learn more here http://www.adcminnesota.org/page/media-coverage/college-bound-entrepreneur-program-covered-local-television-station.
Today is International Women’s Day. It falls on March 8th every year and celebrates women’s social, economic and political achievements. Here’s an appropriate quote from politician Nancy Pelosi, “Women are leaders everywhere you look — from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes.” Enjoy the day.
Dum spiro spero. I heard this Latin phrase for the first time today. It means “While I breathe, I hope.” It makes me think that things can always get better. What does it mean to you?
I said hello to a group of teens that walked past me today. They were on their way to visit someone in the hospital. As one of them went past by me I noticed a strong weed smell. Really? Did he have to smoke before he came to the hospital? Is this the best he could do? No it’s not. He may have a substance use problem and need help. If this sounds like you, you may need help also. Here’s a number from the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration to call for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
We will all go through hard times. The way to turn things around is to begin with basic tasks. Get up at a decent time in the morning. If you are in school, get to school. If you work, show up to work. Make a point of eating a piece of fruit everyday. Smile at someone.
Does this sound too simple? Maybe, but I find that if I succeed with simpler things, I feel stronger and can tackle the tougher stuff.
You may have heard about high school students who were suspended for doing the “Harlem Shake” during lunch at school. Some of those suspended were hockey players who ended up missing a playoff game—the team lost. It really seems like the students were not treated fairly. A parent of one of the students told me that hopefully some good might come of this situation. She said that the students were advised to remember how they are feeling now so that in the future if they have to be both firm and fair, they remember to be fair.
A young person I know wrote this:
“When we talk, not “talk,” but truly talk, we are not on a battlefield, fighting each other with perceived “truths” and “facts.” We are not children, immaturely throwing words at each other to see what sticks. And we are not alone with our thoughts in our minds.
No, we’re on a bus, together, and we’re traveling towards learning how to speak better.”
Someone I know talked about how we all share “small talk” but sometimes we need to engage in “big talk.” “Big talk” is when we communicate about important, sometimes difficult issues, like whether you and your partner are ready to have sex. Take the time for “big talk.”
February is National Condom Month. Want to learn more about condoms? Check out this site from the American Sexual Health Association, http://www.factsaboutcondoms.com/index.php.
Someone asked me to write about racism because there was a fight at a nearby high school that may have been because one group of teens felt that other students were discriminating them against. What I found disturbing about what happened was that there might have been many confrontations between youth in that neighborhood before the big fight. I wonder, why didn’t a parent or another adult step in and alert the authorities to a problem? Maybe they did, but obviously enough wasn’t done to keep a big fight from breaking out. It is all of our responsibility, even young people, to intervene if something bad is happening or about to happen. Also, to keep fighting like that is just ridiculous.
I have advice for anyone going to a clinic appointment-don’t smoke weed before you go. This is obvious, but needs saying I guess because I’ve noticed several young people coming to my clinic for care high. If it is hard to keep from smoking before coming to clinic, I really think you need to ask for stop-smoking help when you are at your appointment; obviously you need help with your use.
In a newspaper article I read recently the reporter mentioned a couple of times that at certain clinics teens could get condoms without their parent’s permission. Why is this news? Who would ever consider asking a parent for permission to give their teen condoms? I can’t even imagine how such a conversation would go.
It’s Your (Sex) Life, has a page with a lot of information about the most common STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Here’s the link to the site http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/the-most-common-stds/.
But, don’t become 1 of 2 people who by the age of 25 get an STD. If you have sex, always use a condom. I can’t say it enough- use a condom, use a condom, use a condom.
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
I was thinking about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) today. What could be better than not having to remember to do anything about birth control for 3 or more years. The Bedsider site has information about various LARC methods. Find out more here http://bedsider.org/methods.
This is cancer prevention month and here’s more about the anti-cancer HPV vaccine.
It’s very interesting how some parents object to the HPV vaccine because it protects against a virus that is sexually transmitted. Most of their children will get old enough and decide to have sex, so why not protect them from HPV as soon as possible. There is no reason to wait—getting the vaccine will not lead a young person to have sex, but it will protect them for when they do.
This is Cancer Prevention Month. Take a huge step towards preventing cancer by getting the HPV vaccine. Why? Well, the HPV vaccine protects against most cervical cancers and other cancers also. So celebrate Cancer Prevention Month and protect yourself. Find out more about the HPV vaccine here http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hpv/downloads/dis-HPV-color-office.pdf.
Sometimes you do something just because it somehow seems like the right thing to do. You may not know exactly why it’s the right thing, but you do it anyways and you don’t expect anything in return. Then one day, out of the blue, someone says tells you that what you did helped them or was important to them. This happened to me today and I hope it happens to you one day. But, mostly I hope that you decide to do the right thing, just because.
A young person I know got in a fight at school recently. As we were talking about it he said that he had to fight because the other person punched him first. This is a tough situation—what do you do if someone throws a punch at you? I don’t know the answer to this question, but maybe he could have done more to avoid letting things get so ugly that there was a fight. There are usually many opportunities to find a way away from conflict, and not move towards it.