Life is about relationships—at home, at work, in your community. And relationships require give and take. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s fair or kind or honest or responsible.
You could use your age, size and wickedly clever mind to fleece those naïve eight-year-olds out of their lemonade-stand money. But should you?
You could pile your four best friends and a slobbery Saint Bernard into your grandma’s Mini Cooper for an epic road trip. But should you?
There are plenty of things you might be able to get away with, but at what cost to your relationships or your sense of self? Be the kind of person you’d like to see looking back at you.
This quote is about taking personal responsibility and treating others with respect, kindness, and fairness. As teens grow up, they may discover that they have more strength, more intellectual ability, more cunning, more boldness than others. They may be more internet or technology savvy. All of those qualities can be great assets, or they can be used to take advantage of people.
Choices about doing what's right and finding a way both parties win (Win-Win) grow over time. For example
In any situation, people have a choice about how they want to use their abilities. They can use them for good. They can use them for a win-win in which both parties walk away feeling they have some benefit and some fairness. Or they can use them to take advantage of people. Whether it is small deceptions, outright misleading lies, or disregard for possibly negative impact, taking advantage is hurtful to others, and ultimately hurtful to the person choosing to take advantage.
This quote is a reminder that at the end of the day, your conscience will help you know whether you have made choices you can be proud of. Self esteem and self respect grow when relationships are fair and healthy. (By the way, for those who feel good taking advantage of people, try the quote, "You be you, unless you're a jerk.")
Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:
Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons: