The Business of Life Series for Teens
San Francisco Chronicle – Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success
Produced in association with: BeMoneySmartUSA
Topic: Family success
Distinguish between friend community and family. A friend community is transitory and circumstantial; a family is a community bonded for life. Family is a place where there are boundaries established and maintained for personal security.
We do not allow strangers access to our homes because that is our personal safe zone. Perhaps your family has boundaries, such as curfews, established homework and computer access times, meal and bed times? Parents establish house rules in order to ensure that their children experience the highest and bests standards for living a productive and secure life, i.e. what is legal and safe.
Where do you feel secure? Where is your voice heard? How can I get my parents to hear my voice?
In the network culture today, family and “friend communities” can be confused. It is easy to become convinced that someone you don’t know is your friend, or that friends should be trusted over what our parents think or expect because social networks have made us feel like boundaries are not necessary – everyone shares, everyone is trusted, and everyone is safe. Not true!
Friend communities can become all consuming because there may be times when you feel like your voice doesn’t matter at home, that you are not allowed to disagree, or embrace a different line of thought.
When parents see that you are demonstrating the fundamentals of being responsible and accountable –then they can feel more secure in allowing dissention. Some of the fundamentals might include:
- Honesty – value it for yourself and from your parents as well
- Taking responsibility for your own actions
- Honor your commitments to the family (events, meal time, homework, household jobs, etc.)
Knowing the difference between knowledge and wisdom is at the core of your capacity to be self-governing. What does that mean? And why is that important to my family?
Self-governance means that you are a reliable individual who can manage and direct your life in ways that are safe and responsible to others. This is important to your family because a chain is as strong as it’s weakest link.
If you are careless and endeavor in risky conduct, or engage in relationships with people who are not safe, your family will suffer as you suffer. You may bring the wrong elements into your personal sphere in the form of stress, worry, personal injury, crime, and loss of time and money, which ultimately impact parents and siblings who care about you.
Self-governance also means that you are thinking correctly. That you are not taking everything your friends say or you read on the Internet as gospel truth.
Here are some beliefs that sound good – but are they really in your best interest?
- Prescription drugs are safe to use, doctors prescribe them. Everybody does it.
- Casual sex is required to be “intimate” or “popular”; use contraceptives and you can have safe sex.
- Drinking alcohol is not a problem for teenagers, just don’t drive.
- Marijuana is safe to use, and the laws against it are stupid. It was the drug of choice of my parents’ generation, so if it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.
Think about it.
Inherent in all of these beliefs (above) are risks for young people who adopt them and act on them including: emotional trauma, disease, pregnancy, addiction, loss of motivation and zest for life, brain damage, arrest and jail time.
Do not be manipulated, but seek wise counsel
Self-governing people think for themselves and verify what they believe they “know” about the world, with a parent or a mentor who has more life experience and wisdom.
For example, Googling information about the prescription drugs your “friend community” is using before you try it is not wisdom. Wisdom is consulting your physician. Just because you have access to information about prescription drugs does not mean you know what to do with it. Someone with more training and life experience should be consulted. Otherwise, you can wind up trying a drug that gets you addicted (wherein you completely surrender your life to drugs) or results in personal injury, jail time or death.
You can access knowledge – no problem. The Internet gives you access to any subject, any expert. Knowledge without wisdom, however, is dangerous – because how we apply what we know, how we learn to accept, process and act on information will determine whether we lead a life of suffering or peace and joy.
Joanna Jullien firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanna married her high school sweetheart and over the past 25 years they have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from UC Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture) and has over 20 years experience as a professional manager in information technology, manufacturing, energy and environment.
Joanna writes on parenting in the 21st century, as she has observed and personally experienced many strains on the parent-child relationship with the advent of the Internet, mobile phones and popular culture.