Quotes for teens on life lessons

Quote for teens about life lessons and growing up- 'Keep your lessons. Let go of your scars...'

"Keep your lessons.
Let go of your scars.
Make tomorrow a new day.”

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

Stuff happens— icky, painful, embarrassing stuff. Maybe a presentation goes badly even though you worked hard. Maybe it goes terribly because you didn’t work hard. Maybe that presentation is why you’ll live in infamy for the great hamster debacle.

But it’s precisely those challenging moments that give us the opportunity to learn something and to grow.

When one of life’s tough lessons has you down, you can wallow in it. Or, you can keep the lesson, let go of the scar, and make tomorrow a new day.

You don’t have to like what happened, but you can find a way to learn from it and to live differently after it.

And by the way, no one else is sitting around, their mind on a repeat loop, reliving the hamster debacle, over and over and over. You probably don’t need to either.

Activities for this quote

Teaching resources

Bring this quote into your classroom with a lesson guide and activities that are ready to use.

Quote Overview / Description

This quote is about sadness, mistakes, life, and growth. The quote can help teens see that sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes things don’t go the way we’d like them to. But the “bad” times are temporary and they are opportunities to learn something and to grow.

Keep your lessons-- Learning

Whether you're a teen or an adult, mistakes and challenges are uncomfortable. Learning from what went wrong is a great way to keep from having to go through the same difficult moment twice. ("I'll never do THAT again...") When you focus on learning the lesson, you can choose to act differently in the future.

Let go of your scars-- Forgiving

This quote is also a reminder that it’s ok to forgive yourself. Growing up is full of ups and downs. Mistakes are one of the ways teens learn who and how they want to be as adults. Sometimes we have to see who we don't want to be, in order to know who we do want to be. The recording that plays in one's head, reliving the awfulness of the mistake over and over-- it's not very helpful. When teens "Keep the lesson, but let go of the scar," they give themselves permission to learn and move on.

Forgiving others is helpful too-- it takes a lot of energy to stay angry. And often, thinking about how upset you are with someone feels like reliving the negative event over and over-- what's the good in that? It's easy to get stuck in feeling like a victim of someone else's actions. "Keep your lessons, let go of your scars" is a helpful reminder to take back control of one's own life. You can choose to find a lesson in the experience; you can choose to stop carrying around the wound; you can give yourself freedom to move forward with your new knowledge. Even if you never love what happened, maybe you can get to a place of neutrality with it.

Make tomorrow a new day-- Moving Forward

It's ok to feel bad for a little while. Those negative feelings will help you remember- next time- why you want to choose a different path. Internalizing the discomfort, the embarassment, the emotions of the event will help you remember why you want to avoid that same lesson again. Once you've felt the feelings, the time comes to pick yourself up, resolve to make different choices in the future, and let yourself move forward.

Discussion questions / Writing Prompts

Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:

  1. Did you ever do something as a child that seemed so embarrassing at the time, but now you can look back and feel ok about it? Is there something embarrassing in your life now that you might see differently later?
  2. What are some good things that can come from going through difficult situations?
  3. Did you ever learn a good lesson through a bad choice?
  4. What is a time when things didn’t go your way? Did you learn something about how to approach a similar situation next time?
  5. Is there a negative situation in your life that you are having trouble letting go? If you could find one positive thing in that negative situation, what would it be?
  6. If your friend made a mistake, what advice would you give him or her? If you made a similar mistake, would you give yourself the same advice or be harder on yourself?


Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons:

  1. Life Lessons Journal Writing Prompt- Download a printable journal page with writing prompts about healing old wounds and growing from life lessons.

Coloring Pages

Download printable coloring pages for a mindfulness activity that features this quote.

  1. Classic coloring page
  2. Growing with purpose coloring page

Curriculum Topics

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development Core Curriculum Alignment:

  • Happiness, emotions
  • Growing up/change


  • Negative moments can be used as growth opportunities
  • Learn your lesson and then learn to forgive (yourself)
  • We often think about our negative moments a lot more than other people are spending time thinking about them. Maybe don’t worry so much.
  • How to face sadness and learn to move forward

Character Traits/Values

  • Growth Mindset
  • Caring / Kindness
  • Forgiveness / Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Self Esteem/ Self Confidence

The quote and opening paragraph of this page are an excerpt from the Book, Truth Be Told Quotes: Teen Edition. Presented with permission from the author, Colleen Doyle Bryant. ©LoveWell Press. Find the print and ebook versions of Truth Be Told Quotes on the Shop page.

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Colleen Doyle Bryant

Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told Quotes series for teens are used in curriculums around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen's latest release for an adult audience, explores what happened to common decency and how we can get to a place of more cooperation and kindness. Learn more at ColleenDoyleBryant.com.

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