Tips for Teens

​These tips are created for young adults that aim to make healthy choices and live balanced lives. Teenage tips are written with teens in mind but most tips are pretty relevant for all age groups. Feel free to share with others.

​TIP #47F: Be a Giver

If you ask a man (or woman) who the three most important people are in his life, he might say "me, myself, and I". Of course he will not say it verbally but he will through his actions. I get why a person might think this because, as a society, we are often fed the message "self before others".

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​TIP #47E: Keep Good Company

The phrase "birds of a feather flock together" sums up the next tip in this series. Who you hang around will more than likely determine what you do and how you act. Here's a good example: when I'm back home visiting my family, I'm loud, country, and comfortable.

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​TIP #47D: Have Vision!

The next pillar of the 7 Pillars of Manhood is Vision (see the first pillar here). When I say "vision" I'm not talking about the ability to see physically. In order to be an effective man, you need to have vision as it relates to foresight, insight, but you must watch...

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​TIP #47C: Be Strong!

Continuing with The 7 Pillars of Manhood, strength is up next. Strength is very important (and I'm not just talking about the ability to bench press 250 pounds-although, if you can bench 250, good for you!). You must have strength in these four areas:

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Tip #47B: Find Your Destiny.

In the last tip, I wrote about understanding your identity, why you are the way you are, and what makes you you. In this tip, I want to take a minute to talk to you about where you're headed in life, aka your destiny. Some of you may eventually become teachers, doctors...

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​TIP #47: Know Your Identity.

One thing I really enjoy is being a mentor and since my last post, I have started a small group with a few young men to discuss some things that I consider very important. I call them the 7 Pillars of Manhood. In order to be an effective man, you need these 7 Pillars:

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​TIP #46: Suit Up!

If you follow college football, you know the Florida State Seminoles are pretty hot right now. After 27 straight victories, they know a few things about winning (and crab legs...j/k). I'm pretty sure their team goes into each game trained, prepared, rehearsed, and read...

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​TIP #45: Think Outside Yourself!

Think of all the influential people you know either now or in history. People like Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Jesus, etc. are (or were) people that had a undeniable way of putting others before themselves. They are making (or made) an impact on thi...

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Tip #44: Take the Road Less Traveled.

I love traveling. Seeing new places and doing new things are awesome. I usually take a plane but every now and then, a road trip isn't too bad. The one thing I hate, however, is the traffic. Let's face it, no one wants to be trapped in a car at a standstill, right?

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​TIP #43: Begin Again!

I have the privilege of being a mentor to quite a few young men. What rewards me the most is when I sit down with a young man that seems to have his head on straight, has a plan, and is on the right track. While it's refreshing for me to talk to these guys, I also real...

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​TIP #42: Don't Follow Your Heart!

When I think of heart, I don't necessarily mean heart. I mean the place where we base our emotions (and of course not the thing that pumps blood throughout the circulatory system). So, an alternative title of this post could be "Don't Follow Your Emotions!" Now that I...

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​TIP #41: Work Out Daily!

Some of you read the title or saw the pic and immediately thought "work out every day? Ain't nobody got time for that!" Hold your horses for a minute. I'm not talking about working outphysically every day (although that's not a bad idea). Check this out: just over a mo...

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Tip #40: Live Through the Pain.

I think we would all agree that when we're in pain, it sucks! The bottom line is that if you live long enough, you will endure some type of mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual pain. Whether the pain is the result of an accident, loss, caused by health conditions,...

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​TIP #39J: Don't Lose Control

This is the final topic of the Fruit of the Spirit. It has to do with self-control. "Boys will be boys" and "it just happened..." or "we were just having fun and then things got out of control" are all phrases I hear teenagers say when things go wrong. I had a chance t...

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​TIP #39I: Be a Gentleman.

What does it mean to be a gentleman? A gentleman is a man that treats others in a proper and polite way (borrowed from m-w.com) but being a gentleman now requires much more effort than what was required a few years ago. Why? I think it's because there are fewer gentlem...

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​TIP #39H: Have a Little Faith!

The other day, I had an opportunity to speak with a young man for an hour or so. We started talking about faith in God, etc. He said he had a lot of questions about God & faith and I followed that up with "I do too". It seemed as if he felt he didn't need God and wasn'...

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Tip #39G: Be Good!

The next fruit is goodness. When I browse Merrian Webster's online dictionary (www.m-w.com), I find that I don't need to define goodness. Instead, I can just look at the synonyms to get a clear picture of what goodness is. Words like character, decency, morality, hones...

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​TIP #39F: Show Kindness.

Continuing with bearing fruit, next up is kindness. It's sad that society has made a guy like me feel less of a man because he is considerate, puts others first, or is kind. Many consider a guy like this weak, a pushover, or a doormat because he may not use coarse or p...

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​TIP #39E: Be Patient!

The next fruit is patience. This one is a pretty tough fruit to bear because much of our society is moving at such a fast pace. If you've read any of my other posts, you may have heard me say that many people want things to happen immediately. We have minute rice, fast...

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​TIP #39D: Be a Peacemaker!

Peace is the next fruit I want to discuss. Growing up in the 80s, there was a was pretty popular commercial that featured a bubble bath soap (Calgon). The commercial featured a stressed out woman dealing with a barking dog, crying kids, traffic, a yelling boss, etc. Th...

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Tip #39C: Have Joy!

Continuing with bearing fruit, next up is joy. Some people think that joy is happiness. While joy and happiness are closely related, my understanding is that happiness is a result of joy. I heard someone say that happiness is a result of something happening but joy is...

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​TIP #39B: Show Love.

The first fruit we will take a look at in the Bear Fruit series is love. Valentine's day is one of the nation's most commercial holidays. Chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals fly off the shelf faster than lighting. The sad reality is many people don't really understa...

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​TIP #39 Bear Fruit.

My granddad was a farmer and while that was the thing to do back in the day, I hated when Saturdays rolled around. My mom would wake us up early in the morning (while the other kids stayed home watching cartoons) so that we could go with my granddad to pick peas. I rem...

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​TIP #38: Expect Resistance.

The weather in Florida is usually beautiful. Sunny summers (and most winters), beautiful beaches, and semi-tropical climates make some of what I consider the most gorgeous scenery God has ever created. But there comes a time that Florida has all of it's natural beauty...

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​TIP #37: Watch Out for the Underdog!

I'm not into college football much unless my team is playing, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Golden Knights. I have two degrees from UCF so I can say legitimately say "my team". It's okay, we'll welcome all bandwagoners with open arms. For those of you that ar...

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Tip #36: RESET!

Growing up, my cousin had all the good video games. He had every new game and the magazines with the cheat codes. He lived next door and that made it even better! Although I wasn't big into video games, I always loved going over to play (except when he would practice a...

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​TIP #35: Think Twice & Take Advice!

A few weeks ago, a local attorney stopped by our school to tell us the 10 mistakes teens make using social media. This attorney has spent years representing schools and families on issues of social media. The 10 mistakes are: 

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​TIP #34: Grab the Lifesaver!

I shared this story with the FCA Huddle at my school last Friday. Imagine, for a minute, that you’re on a family cruise to the Bahamas. You’re just cruisin’ away when all of a sudden, you have that Lio DiCaprio moment from Titanic (you know how he gets up on the bow of...

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​TIP #33: SLOW DOWN!

I'm going to give you fair warning that this post may be a little raw but bear with me. Today, we live in such a fast paced society. Everyone seems to want everything and they want it now (I can't help but think of the commercial where everyone yells out the window "it...

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Tip #32: Don't Grow Weary in Doing Well.

I had a chance to talk with some young men over the past few weeks and one consistent thing I continue to hear is that the “good guys” don’t get recognized for doing the right thing by their friends (depending on your group of friends). One young man said, “yeah, no on...

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​TIP #31: Know the Truth!

 A couple of months ago, I bought a few items on eBay (sports coats). As you may know, eBay is always good at suggesting things you're really not looking for. Ebay suggested sports coats that were really inexpensive (like $20). I immediately jumped on them! They were a...

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​TIP #30: Know What You're Living For.

When you have empathy for others, it's not easy! Empathy is when you know what a person is going through because you've been there (this is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is just feeling bad for someone but you have no personal connection with their situati...

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​TIP #29: Ride Life's Roller Coasters!

I love roller coasters, so much so that I went to what is considered the roller coaster capital of the United States a few years ago. Cedar Point, in Ohio, has 16 roller coasters (tied with Canada's Wonderland for the 2nd most roller coasters in the world!). My favorit...

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Tip #28: Watch Out for Stinking Thinking!

Henry Ford once said "Whether You Think You Can or You Can't, You're Right". I wholeheartedly believe this very powerful phrase. Much of who we are and who we will become has to do with what we think about ourselves. But, have you ever stopped to think about why you th...

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​TIP #27: Don't Run Alone.

I love running but it happened by accident. When I turned 30 a few years ago short while ago, I felt like I was getting old. I always had this phobia of getting fat and out of shape. So I started running. I bought a treadmill from a yard sale and I ran almost every day...

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​TIP #26: Pass the Test (The First Time)!

Never did I imagine that I would become a teacher. I never considered teaching as a profession but one day my cousin told me, "JJ (my nickname), you would make a good teacher." I thought, "uh, yeah right" but the fact that she was a principal made me consider it (and a...

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​TIP #25: Be Careful What You Let Impress You!

I had an opportunity to speak to a group of teens a few years ago at my dad's church (my dad is a pastor-shocker, right?). As I spoke to the group of teens, I handed everyone a small can of Play Doh and gave them an opportunity to create anything they desired. Some of...

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Tip #24: Know Where You Are & Know Where You're Headed!

A few months ago, I had a chance to visit some really good friends in Seattle and celebrate one of my former students graduating high school. While we went to run errands, my former student and I headed to Old Navy to spend my Super Cash. We knew the general location o...

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​TIP #23: Be a Good Servant.

Before you start yelling at me, hear me out. No, I'm not saying that as a servant, you have to be a slave but check this out: think about the last time you visited a business, a theme park, or restaurant. My guess is that the establishment tried to make you feel very s...

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​TIP #22: Begin With the End in Mind.

The other day, I decided to put a puzzle together. I hadn't done a puzzle in a long time but I had a few hours to kill while working with the kids at school. I started with a basic 75-piece puzzle and finished it in about 25 minutes. I moved up to a 504-piece puzzle (a...

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​TIP #21: Change Your View.

I had a chance to hang out with my three older sisters, younger brother, one of my brothers-in-law, nine of my ten nieces and nephews, and my God-sister for the past two days. We went to Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach in Florida to chill after celebrating the...

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Tip #20: Have Accountability.

I had an awesome opportunity to build with a group of about 60 young men and another 40 or so coworkers a couple of weeks ago. I went with my school to the Leadership Academy at Outdoor Odyssey in Boswell, PA. I'll be the first to say that this program was physically,...

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​TIP #19: Find Balance in Life

Notice the tightrope walker in the picture (although I think he's pretty crazy to do this; then again, someone told me I lost my mind when I jumped out of an airplane a few months ago). Remember when he walked on this tightrope across Niagara Falls not long ago (search...

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​TIP #18: Recognize Your Gifts & Talents

It took me a while before I recognized what I was good at and passionate about. Stuff I enjoyed and passed off as just hobbies or things to keep me busy, I now realize these are God-given gifts and talents. Everyone has been given gifts and talents but recognizing what...

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​TIP #17: Get to Know Others. 

Right now, the nation is sad over the news of the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT. Everyone is trying to figure out why. What could have made a person take the lives of so many innocent children? The world may never know but now there are a lot of people on a que...

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Tip #16: What Goes Around Comes Around.

Some people call it Karma, the Law of Reciprocity, sowing & reaping and the Boomerang Effect. I have learned that what goes around comes around. What you do for others and how you treat them will be what others do for you and how others treat you. It's the Golden Rule;...

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​TIP #15: Slow & Steady Wins the Race.

If you put a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 up against a Toyota Prius, we all know that the Aventador will spank the Prius left and right, in the short run. The Lamborghini is designed for performance. It can accelerate with lightning-fast speeds and handle the corners...

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​TIP #14: Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do, Do it With All Your Might.

One thing that bothers me is laziness. Someone waiting for the next person to do everything for them is a drain. Another thing that gets under my skin is when a person half does a job or does it carelessly. You've probably experienced that disgruntled customer service...

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​TIP #13: Stand for Something or You'll Fall for Anything. 

I’m sure you may have heard this saying before but it’s quite true. It seems that many teens are so preoccupied with what their friends think or how they are perceived. What’s a shame is that negative peer pressure has such a terrible effect on teens that they may disr...

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Tip #12: Play the Hand You're Dealt.

My family loves to play cards. Their game of choice is Spades and when we play, it gets pretty ugly and loud but it's so much fun. I don’t play Spades that often but when I do, I play to win. Sometimes I’m dealt a good hand and sometimes my cards are a bunch of junk. E...

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​TIP #11: What's Ahead is Greater Than What's Behind.

 One reader asked me to write about moving on and forgetting about the past so here goes. I heard a Pastor once say that the windshield of a car is bigger than the car's rear view mirror. He used the analogy to illustrate the point that what's in front of you is much m...

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​TIP #10: Never Give Up.

I'll be honest and say I have been thinking about this tip for nearly a week and I never thought I would need it the most this week. Life is tough sometimes and if you have never experienced the ups and downs yet, keep living. You will be disappointed, have friends tha...

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​TIP #9: Set Goals & Do Everything to Reach Them. 

I was talking to my cousin and her husband the other day and we got into this conversation about setting goals and having a vision. In the conversation, I told them that if my goal is to get to New York, I need to make sure I count up the costs, have a mode of transpor...

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Tip #8: Stay Grounded.

There's a reason why an electrical outlet must be grounded. It keeps electrical appliances from blowing up and causing electrical shock to those around. I overheard some kids speaking about this young man and how good he was at basketball so when the kid walked in my...

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​TIP #7: Be Sure to Take a TIMEOUT!

I'll admit, it seems that some of you young guys have a more hectic schedule than I did growing up. Playing sports, homework, projects, tests, quizzes, hanging with friends etc. demand quite a bit of your time. I'll be honest and say I always had the impression that th...

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​TIP #6: Always Say Thanks and Return the Favor.

When you say "thanks", it usually means someone has done something nice for you. But as I explained to a group of students at school the other day, saying "thanks" is the easy part. Yes, you are supposed to say "thanks" because it shows you appreciate what someone has...

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​TIP #5: YOLO But Your Legacy (or Failure) Could Live Forever. 

One of the most popular phrases among young people now is YOLO (you only live once). It's kinda like the sayings we had back in the day such as "check yourself before you wreck yourself" or "if you don't know, you better ask somebody". Either way, the phrase YOLO has b...

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Tip #4: Be the Best You You Can Be!

No, it’s not a typo. Be the best you you can be. There’s a reason why no one else on the planet has a fingerprint or DNA like yours. It’s because God created you uniquely different but you're different for a reason. No one else can do the job you were created to do. Th...

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​TIP #3: You Are What You Eat!

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that what you eat on a daily basis has a lot to do with how you look and feel physically. For example, if you continuously eat greasy hamburgers every day, you're probably going to gain a few pounds and eventually...

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​TIP #2: Life is a Team Sport.

Imagine you've just been given the opportunity to play in a national championship basketball game and you have the choice of selecting four teammates to play with you. You’re representing your state in the National Teen Basketball Association (yeah, I know I made it up...

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​TIP #1G: Expect a Greater Reward! 

This is the final tip in defining what makes a man. Every 15th day of the month is special to me. Why? I'm glad you asked. It's PAY DAY! Yep, I get paid once per month on the 15th of every month. It's awesome because all of the work I put into the previous month is exc...

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Tip #1F: Do What's Right, No Matter the Cost

I've had the chance to talk with a couple of guys this week and this common theme continues to come up. It seems like it is so hard for young men to make the right decisions. Peer pressure is just one part of this huge puzzle when it comes down to making the right choi...

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​TIP #1E: Make Everyone Feel Safe When You're Around.

I consider it a privilege to be a part of a group of young men called the Leadership Academy. The purpose of this group is to develop future leaders. One of the most important sayings of this group is the Warrior Creed by Robert L. Humphrey. It goes like this:

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​TIP #1D: Bring Life Wherever You Go.

Think about your good friends, not just any friend but your GOOD friends. Why do you consider them good friends? Because they make you feel good? They agree with everything you say? You talk and they listen? You can share your thoughts and not be judged by them? You ca...

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​TIP #1C: Don't Be Passive! 

This tip is related to Tip #1B: Lead With Courage. Being passive means you're not taking an active part in making decisions that you should; it means that you sit back while everyone makes decisions for and about you without you having a say in the matter. And no, I'm...

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Tip #1B: Lead With Courage. 

I firmly believe that it is man's responsibility to lead. God designed us to take charge of our families, communities, and individual lives. We are called to protect and provide for all the responsibilities we have been given. 

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​TIP #1A: Accept Responsibilty! 

For the next few tips, I want to revisit the first one: Tip #1: Know What It Means to Be a Man and Do What It Takes to Be One. If you haven't had a chance to read it, be sure to do so. In that tip, I discussed 7 characteristics of a man. 

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Tip #1: Know What it Means to Be a Man & Do What it Takes to Be One! 

TV commercials, radio ads, magazines, and the Internet want you to believe that being a man is defined by how much money you have, how many chicks are into you, how much SWAG you have, or how muscular you are. While it's great to have some of those things as a man, it...

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