If I could go back in time to give my teenage self advice, it would be this ....
Talk to your friends. Now! Because when you are old, you will live in a nice place by the beach and every day thank God you are so lucky to have such a great life. (I know it's hard to believe now, but that's the way it turns out.)
Some of your cool friends, on the other hand, that's another story. They'll end up at 55 or 60 years old sleeping on someone's couch because they can't afford rent. And it's not like they had a great time for 30 or 40 years before that, either.
You see, here's what happened ... remember how you were the one that was always studying between judo matches, sitting up in the stands reading your textbooks? Remember your friends who were a lot more fun, who were sitting in the back of Algebra class and English telling jokes and talking about their dates the night before?
Well, it turns out that Algebra and being able to write an essay were really important for getting into college and college was really important for getting a good job.
The cool girl who sat behind you - yeah, she had four kids, was on welfare for years and now lives with her oldest daughter and her husband.
Those guys in the back of the class who never turned anything in - one was in prison for armed robbery last I heard, another drove a truck for years until he had back problems, now he's living on disability payments that barely cover the rent in his one-bedroom apartment and his pain medication. Another one has been an alcoholic for years. He lives in a hotel room downtown. The fourth one, that all the girls thought was so hot - yeah, he had several kids but never managed to make enough money to pay child support and none of them talk to him. He lives alone.
Are you getting the picture here? The guys (and girls) who were too cool for school had a lot of dates while they were in high school - but after a while, they got left behind. No one wants to date the toothless clerk at the convenience store. (Dental care is expensive.)
You went off to college, then graduate school. You've been to visit four continents while they've never been anywhere but that one road trip they took thirty years ago.
What I'm saying is, think of me like the Ghost of Christmas Past, but for school. Try to help them out before it's too late.
Okay, now a word to you parents ---
If your child is making a D or an F in anything and has an iPhone to put a case on - what the hell is wrong with you? I don't know your child, but unless he or she has a disability, I'd say anything below a B is unacceptable.
I have taken away credit cards, phones, DVD players and even had the cable disconnected for the whole house when one of my children received a grade below a B.
I have threatened to take away car keys but that child's grades coincidentally came up very rapidly.
I have grounded children from going to dances, a tournament that was points toward the Olympics and the mall (for Julia, that is like solitary confinement).
The people who can't get jobs now? Not all, but a disproportionate number of them are people who didn't study back then.
Listen to the Ghost of Career Opportunities Past.
It's not too late, you can still play Spirit Lake: The Game, have fun and learn math while you are at it.