To Our Teens: Your Voice Matters

Parents: If you have a teen in your life, please share this …

In a world where we are made to feel insignificant and small, know this one thing: your voice matters. What you have to say can have a great impact on the world around you. The thoughts, words, and insights stirring within you have power – the power to change a life forever.

When I was sixteen, I was like many other teens in my world, searching for wisdom and truth. There was a war going on that we did not believe in. Our parents belonged to a completely different time and culture. And the stirrings within us were powerful forces we could not bridle. We sought justice for all men. A world filled with peace. And protection for all those less able. It was the sixties.

Before cell phones, before the internet, and before cable TV, we connected through the printed word.  Newspapers, books, and magazines were our lifeline to the outside world. We gleaned wisdom from Greek philosophers and poets. I nurtured the deep passions within me and expressed them through rants on social justice. But nothing seemed to quiet the painful compassion that simmered within.

Then, one day, I read words that changed my life forever.

My favorite teen magazine had just arrived. This quality monthly publication offered a wide variety of articles. It covered fashion, makeup and hair, fiction and non-fiction, dating humor, and opportunities for teens to submit original poetry and art. Unlike today’s issues, there was little advertisement. Instead, it was a vital source of information for the searching soul.

As I read through this newest issue, I noticed a short quote from a fellow sixteen year old. Her submission had been accepted and was used as filler at the bottom of one page. As I read, her words pierced my soul. From that moment on, I was never the same. In fact, her words went so deep that now, fifty years later, they still burn in my heart.  Her words guided my every move, laid the foundation, and set the course on which I based my life.

“And turning back upon the sterile desert,
I saw a sprouted seed, crushed in my footstep.”

From that moment on, my hard radical exterior softened. I worked at being careful to never extinguish another person’s idea or inspiration. I tried to nurture each life brought before me. I tried to be a safe place for all life to thrive. And after all these years, from time to time I still look back, making sure that I have not crushed a sprouted seed.

If you are wondering if your voice matters, remember that one word spoken from your heart can change the course of human history. One blog entry, written from words deep within your soul, can change a life forever. Your words have a lasting legacy.

Remember … your voice matters.