There are plenty of days that I feel like a moody hormonal teenager (exacerbated by adult skin breakouts) so I am frequently reminded of how impossible the world seemed (at times) when I was a teenager. When I was trying to figure out what to get my nearly 13 year old nephew for Christmas I started brainstorming and tried to think of something that might really make a difference in his life.
When you are a tween/teen it’s tough to feel important. I remember feeling like no one understood me and what I did didn’t really matter. The world wouldn’t end if I didn’t make my bed. It might piss my mom off but what was the point really? There were many days when it was hard to see the point in a lot of what my day consisted of and that may well be why I read so much. (My parents were SO lucky I didn’t have a Kindle or e-reader in Junior High! I would have been in trouble for my reading related debt for sure.)
So I came up with this big little idea. I would give both my nephew and my cousin’s daughter (she is just 6 months younger than my nephew – and they are the only tweens in our family right now) a journal with a little note in the front of it. The note glued to the inside cover read:
“At the end of your day, will you do me a favor? Look back and remember at least one thing you did that made a difference for good.
Did you smile at someone having a bad day? Did you pick up a piece of plastic that might otherwise have choked a bird? Did you reuse something instead of throwing it away? Did you get schoolwork done early instead of waiting until the last minute? Did you read a book that wasn’t assigned to you? Did you help clean up with out anyone asking? Did you do something that made you feel better about yourself? Did you do something that helped someone else?
This time in your life can feel like what you do doesn’t matter or that people don’t notice. What you do DOES matter. You make a difference in peoples lives every day. If you focus on doing something that makes a difference – even if it is just for you or your family – you are changing the world for the better.
This notebook is a place for you to keep track of all of the good you put out into the world. When you feel like nobody cares (even though there are many people that would do anything for you) take some time to read what you have written here and remind yourself of all the good you put out into this world.
You matter. You make a difference. You are loved.”
My brother told me that he has seen my nephew writing in his new journal. Wohoo!
Do you know someone that could use a journal like this? Could you use a journal like this? Please feel free to share this gift with as many people as you would like. If you do share, I’d love for you to leave me a comment letting me know who you shared with (friend, nephew, cousin). Maybe they would even like to comment and let me know how it has changed them. Everyone has felt invisible, unimportant or unheard at some time in their life. A random gift like this could make a big difference to someone!