freedom isn't free
Teenagers don’t have be dependent on adults. With a driver’s license, a job, and some principles, I was able to enjoy high school in a way that many dream about. Having a license and a car allowed me to do the extracurricular activities I wanted to do after school without having to bug my dad for a ride. It also provided me a way to get work every weekend, as well as hanging out with my friends. My parents let me stay out late because they trusted me. This trust was earned by doing all the little things right:
• washing the dishes every night
• babysitting my siblings
• getting good grades
• making good decisions—no drugs, drinking, or sexing.
Having a job gave me the money to pay for my own gas, help out with the car insurance (sometimes), and have cash to take my girl out to dinner and a movie. What made it even better is that I was blessed with an opportunity to perform for a living. By working hard and being dependable and energetic I earned a job that payed more money in one day than most of my classmates earned in a week.
Let’s not forget the principles. These are the ideas and thoughts that help a person create success in their life. One principle that has produced to biggest change in my life is to do my work on time, especially when I did not feel like it. This means washing the dirty dishes at midnight after I had returned home from a long night of rehearsing a play. This means doing all the homework that I didn’t finish before school started—even if it requires getting up a 4:00 am to make it happened. This one principle alone, if applied to your life, would change everything forever. Another principle I followed was always working on improving myself. I am obsessed with reading about success. As a Christian teen, I wanted to be the best for my God.
“Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as if you are working for God, and not for man.”
The Holy Bible, and other books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, were a big part of my self-improvement routine. It continues to be my habit to read (or listen to) something everyday that will make me a better person. When you improve yourself, you get better outcomes in your life. With good results piled up over time, you get to have a lot more freedom.
Here’s the catch: freedom isn’t free. It never has been. Somebody has to pay the price for everything that happens in this world. For example, the American Revolution had to be fought in order for the American colonists to assert their independence. Black people had to endure all kinds of tragedies to get their freedom in the United States. A lot of the freedom you are experiencing right now is the result of someone else’s hard work. The ability to read this is due to the hard work of the many women and men who developed the technology that makes the internet tick.
If you want to have the ability to make your own decisions, and live with more control over the course of your life—you have to work at it! LeBron James has the freedom to dominate on the court because he works hard in the gym and in practice. If you actually saw how much Beyonce has to rehearse to prepare for a show or a music video, you would probably think she was crazy. These people are stars because they earn it—everyday. Period.
“Diligence is the mother of good luck”
--The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
"I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”
—Coleman Cox (often credited to Thomas Jefferson)
These two statements are so true. I have had many opportunities ‘handed' to me out of the blue because someone saw me working hard and trusted me with a chance of lifetime. Remember the great job I had that I wrote about above? Well, that wasn’t even supposed to be my job. Our theatre company (Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit) had group called the Next Stage that was meant for young artists who had graduated from high school. Well, one day original performers couldn't do the show. Because we were dependable, energetic, and hard workers my friends and I were chosen to replace the other actors just for one performance. The management at the zoo like our energy and passion so much that they requested that we did the show from then on, it was amazing. People want to help hard-workers because they know their help is not in vain. The quickest way to get someone to give you what you want, is to help them get what they want. You want your parents to stop nagging you and let you go out on the weekends, then wash all the laundry and put everything where it belongs without them asking you to do it; see what happens. They may still say “No,” but now you have their attention. Do the laundry every week for three months, and see if they don’t give you the moon and the stars.
Take a moment, and think about the people that you like the most. Nine times out of ten that person is someone who gave you something valuable, whether it was an awesome present, or love and attention. People get because they give. Give your parents the freedom to not worry about the house being a mess, and they just might give you the keys to the car.