Living for Today and Tomorrow
1-5. Why should youth be a happy time? Yet what makes it challenging?
YOUR youth should be a wonderful time of life. It is something like the spring season of the year. Youth is a time of fresh vitality. Your body is getting stronger and your mind is also developing. Many opportunities are opening up to learn and to do things. So there are lots of reasons why youth should be a happy and exciting time.
2 But is it, or will it be, for you? There are many things that can help or hinder in this. Some of these are things you can’t do anything about. But many of them you can. This book is written in the hope that it will help you to get the best out of your youth, with long-lasting benefits.
3 Youth is a time of challenge. As you probably realize, the road of life today has plenty of rough spots. It takes courage to face them. But if you learn early how to overcome the rough spots, then the rest of the road becomes far smoother for you. Each time you win out over a problem your confidence will grow.
4 How much better it is to face the challenge of youth than to let the rough spots, the pressures and problems, sidetrack you. Of course, it would be easy just to dream or to kid yourself that life is different from what it really is. But sooner or later those who do that are sure to run into hard reality. It could then be very difficult to recover and move ahead. Valuable time would be lost because, as the saying goes, you are young only once.
5 Right now you are in a transition time, a period of change. Your body, for example, is moving toward physical maturity. But it doesn’t reach that stage until sometime between the ages of twenty and twenty-three. It can take still longer for you to reach emotional maturity. Some of the changes taking place in you could make you feel confused or unsure of yourself. When you feel new pressures building up inside, how do you handle them? This book considers these changes that take place during youth and how to cope with them successfully. You can even enjoy meeting the challenges they bring, for they are all part of the remarkable experience of becoming an individual, a distinct person—You.
AIDS FOR CHARTING YOUR COURSE
6-9. How can you benefit by learning about what other people have done?
6 Sometimes it may seem that your life is very restricted, filled with “do’s” and “don’ts.” But, thinking of it another way, when you’re young you have a kind of freedom you won’t have later on. Instead of being loaded down with all the responsibilities that older people have, you’re free to spend a lot of time getting knowledge and developing your abilities and skills. You have much more time to learn about and to think about what other people have done or are doing. You can learn about their successes and their failures, and can see where they made wise choices or foolish mistakes. This can help you to know what direction you want to take on the road of life.
7 Can you decide on that direction all on your own, without any help? How much sense would it make to try? Take some examples:
8 Let’s say you want to build a car engine. Would you start out to do it by yourself without first learning what experienced mechanics can tell you? If you did, how would the motor probably turn out? Or would you try to make a dress for a party without ever having seen anyone sew, or without a pattern? You can imagine what the dress would look like.
9 Doesn’t it almost go without saying that human living is a lot more complicated than a car engine or a party dress?
KEEP YOUR COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN
10-16. (a) Why do some youths feel that they don’t want to learn from older people? How do you feel about that? (b) Besides listening to older persons, why do we also need some other source of information about life?
10 It’s a simple fact of life that every one of us builds on what others before us learned. But you can’t do that without communication. With no communication—no talking, no reading, no observing of others so as to learn—there is no drawing on the knowledge and experience that others have gained.
11 To get the best out of your youth you need to benefit from what others have learned. This includes such things as how to take the best care of your body, how to get and to keep really good friends, helpful guidelines as to dating and courting, and the answers to questions about marriage, sex and the use of alcoholic drinks or drugs. These are all considered in this book.
12 But maybe you are thinking about what you see today in the world around you. There is a lot of selfishness. Many people are being treated unfairly. There is also much cheating, pollution, crime, war, lying and hypocrisy. ‘So what can I learn from older persons when they have made such a mess of things?’ you may ask.
13 True, many older persons today do bear guilt for these conditions. They either take part in the wrongs done or at least go along with and support the systems that produce those conditions.
14 On the other hand, aren’t there a lot of older persons who are just as disgusted at seeing the way things are going as you are? After all, these problems didn’t just start to develop within one generation. When your parents were of the same age as you are now, they also found the world scene discouraging. In fact, for the past half century, particularly since the first world war of 1914-1918, people seem to be going from one crisis to another, each one getting harder to handle.
15 Just being older or having more experience obviously doesn’t bring all the answers to life’s problems. Otherwise things everywhere would always be getting better. But they are not. So, then, in addition to the experience of others, is there another and even better source of information and help that you can tap?
16 Yes, there is. We’ll talk about that now.
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