Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Letter to a teenager

to all parents with teens - this may help you!! 

There are many things we have tried to teach you both over the years. Some of them are for the good of the family, to alleviate stress, to teach you how to be responsible for your own actions, take care of the mess you leave about you and to act as a fair human being who shares the load of living with others. Some of the things we teach you are for the good of the planet, to prevent you from being wasteful, to learn how to respect the environment, to reduce your imprint on this world we live on. And some of the things are simply about trying to keep the cost of living to a minimum, to reduce the amount of bills we have to pay upon your behalf and to show you how to live frugally so when you fly the nest you will already know how to minimise your bills and can hopefully afford the cost of living a little easier.

So here is a gentle reminder of some of the things we have tried to teach you, that you may have forgotten the importance of, that it would be gratefully appreciated if you could re-learn. For the benefit of yourselves, your family, the household and the planet.

Thank you!

1.    Please use the same towel for two weeks.
If you hang it on a radiator or one of the hooks available in your room it will dry from day to day and will be more than useable for this period of time. Leaving it on the floor will not help it stay clean and subsequently washing it again will not save on water, cost or washing materials. Therefore if leaving it on the floor is your preferred method, you will have to reuse it in the state you left it.

2.    Please turn off lights when you leave a room.
There is no reason what so ever to light a room that does not have a person in it. It costs money you know! Even if you think you are only popping down the stairs for a minute, the likelihood is you will be distracted, the doorbell may ring, you may need the loo, food, tv or you could quite simply forget what you were doing and remain away from the said lit room. If you can get into the habit of turning lights off when you are not in a  room you could save us, and yourself in the future, a small fortune. The same theory applies to laptops and stereos.

3.    Please do not run the tap when you are cleaning your teeth.
Running water is energy. Bu turning off the tap when you are brushing your teeth you are saving energy. You are also lucky enough to live in an area that does not have water rates...yet. But if you move to a city in the UK or another country, like Japan, Canada, America, Europe, you will be charged for water by how much you use. Therefore every millilitre should be precious. Get used to not running water away down the plug hole. Use the plugs if you need to wash your face, use a bowl. Water rates are coming and this will put up our bills considerably. It is also why we share baths, reuse water collected in the garden and ask you to take quick showers. Wasting water is wasting energy. Sadly the UK has incredibly old and dilapidated water pipe systems so by wasting water at home you are wasting water for the country and ultimately the planet. If you move to London you will experience yearly droughts because of this and will definitely live on a water meter, so teach yourself NOW to be efficient with water.

4.    Please learn to respect others wishes, especially the adults who pay your bills
The house that you live in is not just for you. It belongs to someone other than you, it is paid for by someone other than you and it is maintained, cleaned and heated by someone other than you. Therefore it is common decency to be polite, respectful and helpful to the people that provide this home for you. Simple things like, cleaning up after yourself, putting things back from where you took them, saying hello to people when you enter a room and doing your fair share of the chores that always need doing in a house. Sometimes putting yourself out to give the adults a break from always putting themselves out for your benefit would be really nice. After all, its nice to be nice. So when you are asked politely to prepare your lunch, so that you don’t keep coming back to the house where the adults are trying to work, or going to bed on time so you don’t keep the working adults awake while you get up late for food and the toilet would be greatly appreciated and rewarded by normal adult behaviour being continued, rather than erratic behaviour bought on by frustration and tiredness.

5.    No food or drink in your rooms.
Yes it is your room. But the equipment, furniture and furnishings belong to the household and they cost money to repair, money to clean and money to replace. We have tried our best to let you have flexibility with this one but sadly you have shown that food is spilt, hidden until it rots so much it turns into ammonia or just left so that no one else can find it in its proper place let alone eat it. We no longer want to hunt in your rooms for items we would like to eat, or bowls we would like to use. So therefore all eating & drinking will take place in the kitchen or dining room and nowhere else. As a side note: if you eat at the appropriate times then you should not need to sneak food away to your rooms. If you find you get hungry at night, have a light snack before you go to bed. We know you may find this one hard, but we really don’t want to have to keep paying to replace things that have stains or mould on them. And it gives you something to look forward to! Because...When you live on your own you can sleep with all the food you like stuck to you bed linen. Just not on our bed linen, okies?

6.     Please put the toilet lid down when you are done.
Strangely enough, that is what it is there for. And being girls you should know better. Its men who leave the toilet seat up! Apart from the virtues, if you believe it of Feng Shui, which states that all your good luck for money goes down a toilet with an open lid (!!) its also hygienic. Did you know that germs from your toilet can travel ten metres? So the pooh from your bum is all over your tooth brush. Put the lid down!!! (even your dad does it and he IS a man!)

7.    Actions speak louder than words.
“The sentiment behind the saying actions speak louder than words is expressed in many cultures. There are certainly references to sayings like it in antiquity, but it may have been first expressed in English in the 1700s. The first reference in English very similar to it is in the book Will and Doom, written by Gersham Bulkeley in 1692, who speaks of actions as “more significant than words.”
The basic idea of Bulkeley’s, which was not new in expression, is that actions speak louder than words as a greater determinant of behavior and character. People can say anything, but when what they say and do are contrary, it’s easier to judge by what is done instead of by what is said. The phrase “saying one thing and doing another,” is related to this idea.
Another way of looking at this old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” is as a guide for how to live life. Actions should meet verbal obligations or sentiments, and they should not contradict them. If a person constantly talks about the plight of the poor but never thinks of donating to a charity or in any way mitigating that plight, their words have a hollowness or empty quality
.” Ref from www.wisegeek.com

We didn’t make this saying up! But we sure as hell live by it as best we can. People can say anything, what matters is what they do. If you say you are going to make more effort, try your best, make it up to someone or make changes, then do it. Or it makes your words very difficult to believe in.

8.    Please do not take others belongings without asking first.
It can be very frustrating looking for something that you are damn sure you knew where it was, only to find it moved, used or in someone else’s possession. Sadly you have learnt this ‘take without asking’ approach from each other but it isn’t acceptable to the rest of the world. Quite simply it is theft. Try and cast your mind back to the occasions where it has been done to you, how annoyed you were, especially when that item was damaged. If you have experienced a negative feeling it should inspire you against doing the same thing to others. Belongings are just that. They belong to the person who worked hard for the money to purchase it or was gifted it. If you ask, sometimes you might receive a no, because many things are precious to others. But you may also hear yes! You don’t know until you ask. Just taking is wrong.

9.    Please do not lie
This should be a really simple one to understand. Once you are caught out lying you are not trust worthy. Simples! Your word means little, especially when not backed up by reflective explanations or making an effort to build bridges. This is yet another point we have been raising with you for YEARS now. And yet we know you still tell lies. Some are little white lies, to try and get away with things. Others are bigger lies that are manipulative and conniving. Please think about what this says about you as an individual. Please stop. We don’t lie to you. Simples! Its something you really need to get out of the habit of doing. Then we can truly believe your word and move forward as decent human beings. Even if you have done something wrong, by accident or on purpose, saying you need to apologise and explaining makes it easier to forgive the one thing you did wrong. By lying, you do two things wrong. Simples!

10.    Do something good for others every week.
Being a good person takes effort. Believe it. You have to train yourself to put others first without resentment. You have to actually think about other people, what might be helpful, what would make them happy, what would be a good thing to do for the benefit of others. But the rewards for you are plenty. Self worth. Honour, dignity.  There is no better feeling than feeling good about being good and doing good. If you practice being a good person, you can hold your head high, live with your conscience and feel proud of not just your effort and behaviour but who you are on a daily basis. Someone who tries their best to be a good person, will receive life’s riches and reward’s back tenfold.
Ultimately other people want to be with nice people, share things with good people and live their lives around good people. It is the true way of the peaceful world.

We don’t expect you to be perfect. But we do expect you to try your best. We expect you to try hard at making us happy, like we do with you. And we expect you to try hard at behaving like an equal, responsibilities, chores and all included. You are not golden girls. You do not evade having to learn how to grow up. You are not grown up. And it is about time you acted a bit more responsible akin to the privileges you desire.  For months now we have been reaching out to you both, in different ways, to try and unpick the lies, the laziness, the deceit. To try and move onto a better place in our relationships and especially to find an equilibrium to our living together. And  for months now we have heard all the right words but seen very little action.

We want you to live, to have experiences, to learn to be responsible, interesting good human beans. We hope you will soon be more honest and helpful and less full of it and conniving. Please try harder. That’s all we have been asking. And its exactly what you have been promising. It feels like everything else is worth more effort except us. You leave us til last, and then sometimes not at all.

We love you very much. We tell you these things not to nag you, not to mould you into what we want but to guide you, show you what is an honest way of living. Basic skills to enable you to feel proud of who you are. Have real lasting honourable friendships and live comfortably in others company.
Always remember that you are young, inexperienced and still growing. We are here to help you with that. And we hope every lesson we have learnt can offer you some expertise in how to be a good human being.
All our love. xxxx

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