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Navigating Hard Topics With Teens: Stay the (Bumpy) Course

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

A recent blog by George Couros, a principal who writes “The Principal of Change,” a blog I love, used the title "Dream Big, Work Hard, Stay the (Bumpy) Course. In it, he talks about dreaming big and what it takes to get where you want to go even when the road is bumpy. I want to focus on the bumpy part.

A long tree-lined road with bumps in it

One recent hard topic with teen involvement is the recent scandal in higher education with bribes for some wealthy students to gain admissions into elite colleges. I met with my students to check on their hearts.


While our students are young, they are not blind. They know what a fallen world we live in, and yet this scandal was concerning and even crushing for some. The thought of some students paying their way into college while others work so hard for their dreams, is a difficult pill to swallow for anyone. It took some down the road of “Where does it end, will professors take bribes too?” one asked.


Teens Might be More Resilient Than You Think

On the other hand, I saw a great measure of grit and determination as they shared their feelings and what they would do next. Most all of my students said that their self-respect was worth doing things the right way and honoring the Lord really mattered to them. I let them share, vent and encourage each other. I hope you have or will give your students the opportunity to do the same.


It isn't Just Teens: How do You Handle Hard Topics?


A mom of a teen holds her head in her hand as she feels stressed while looking at a laptop

And what about you? Initially, I faced similar feelings my students shared; throwing my hands in the air when this news first broke. I felt let down and yet determined! In the end, our job, our duty is to admonish students to honor God in their efforts, do their very best and make sacrifices for their future.


The road to the kind of success that brings self-respect and honors God is bumpy! In John 16:33 Christ himself told us, in this world we will have trouble. But He immediately admonishes us to “take heart. I have overcome the world!” The etymology of the word “heart” is soul, spirit, will, desire; courage; mind, intellect. I believe with this statement Christ was preparing us for the road ahead, telling us to “stay the bumpy course, don’t give up, don’t lose heart!”


Questions to Guide you Through Hard Topics With Teens

Here are some questions and truth to consider, as you and your students ponder this bumpy road together. Your relationship, your influence matters.


Questions to Ponder

a teenage boy raises his hand in class and the teacher points at him to call on him

· How does this controversy make you feel about your future?

· What questions does this raise in your mind about your personal journey ahead?

· Will this impact how hard you will work to get where you want to go?

· Should you play by the rules? Why or why not?

· If you win by cheating, what have you won and what have you lost?

· What do you value most, things given to you or things you have earned?

· What do you think the consequences should be?


Scripture to Stand On

· “Work as unto the Lord and not men.” Col. 3:23

· “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:6

· Nothing surprises God including this scandal. “In the world you WILL have trouble ...” John 16:33

· College diplomas do not guarantee success. Your creator God has a success plan for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)


Facts to Remember

· Colleges are not just looking to fill seats, they need students to thrive and graduate. (Read more)

· Why should I work so hard at my SAT/ACT? Solid scores indicate academic readiness to succeed once you are there.

· Why should I work so hard to build a good college resume with community service and extracurricular activities? These activities help you get ahead on knowing yourself and finding the right direction for YOUR life.


Their future – your influence – our tools! Want to know more?


Prep4Success Curriculum is specifically designed to provide you with the tools to connect to your students as you explore timely important developmental topics together. You can inspire, you just need the right tools. Join us!






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