Reality Quest: Teens Making the Facts

Overview

Today's teens grapple daily with the increasing challenges of a very complex world. Technology liberates at the same time as it constrains. Peers and the media can function as lifelines, but also can contribute to confusion-even despair, and parents can spur a whole gamut of emotions. No wonder teens often don't know where to turn or what to do first. The rapid-fire messages that bombard them from minute to minute consistently contradict one another: Be yourself! Fit in! You ...

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Reality Quest: Teens Making the Facts

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Overview

Today's teens grapple daily with the increasing challenges of a very complex world. Technology liberates at the same time as it constrains. Peers and the media can function as lifelines, but also can contribute to confusion-even despair, and parents can spur a whole gamut of emotions. No wonder teens often don't know where to turn or what to do first. The rapid-fire messages that bombard them from minute to minute consistently contradict one another: Be yourself! Fit in! You have all the time in the world! Grow up!

Reality Quest begins each chapter with actual e-mail exchanges between real teens-or in online jargon, an IM-that relates to the chapter's topic. Then, essential details and supporting data provide opportunities for teens to explore the information. "Tests" complement each chapter, helping teens discover how they fit in with what they've learned and giving them an avenue to express their thoughts and feelings. The authors also have a website that ties in with the book and invites teens to express their views.

The combined use of factual data, teen-created IMs and other by-teens-for-teens contributions present a unique product-one that respects their intelligence and powers of reasoning, and at the same time empathizes at their level. Different from story collections because the contributions included are slice-of-life rather than literary, this book is sure to be a popular teen read.

For every teen struggling with these issues and more, Reality Quest will help them find answers throughout their journey to adulthood.

Presents ideas and information to help teens better understand themselves and their place in society. Each chapter includes self-tests.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Finding the right words when talking to teens can be a challenge for adults. No matter how genuinely one cares about their welfare, the adult perspective can appear hopelessly stodgy and dated. Teens themselves do the talking here on a wide range of issues related primarily to self-understanding. Each chapter is titled with a snappy, Internet-style abbreviation, such as "UR" or "BFF," and opens with an essay written by a teenager. For example, Shelley, age sixteen, writes, "In recent years they've even gone so far as to tell me I can't be who I am. I have to be who they met first. They refuse to admit I've changed." What reader cannot relate to that? Each chapter also includes an "Internet Exchange," basically the text of an IM session. These dialogues seem to represent typical teenage exchanges, light and abbreviated, but they also model healthy versus unhealthy communication styles. The rest of the book is filled with quizzes, containing questions such as, "How do you feel about body image, or violence, or television?" These are then followed by open-ended questions, such as, "Have you ever cheated in school, and if so, why?" Authors Wells and Morris direct their book toward teens, although it might also provide useful tools for adults who work with adolescents. The substance of the book is hard to discern from the cover, but skillful recommendations by caring librarians can get it into just the right hands. Glossary. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Health Communications, 266p,
—Diane Masla
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558749566
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Pages: 300

Meet the Author

Donna K. Wells, M.Ed., M.P.A., and Bruce C. Morris, J.D., youth-leadership and safety experts, served as the governor-appointed Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. Having worked in the public-safety arena for two decades, they lecture frequently on and have authored numerous articles on public safety, personal safety and responsibility, and criminal justice. Their most recent collaboration is Live Aware, Not in Fear: The 411 After 9-11, also a book for teens. Each with teenage children of their own, they offer the benefit of their professional expertise, as well as their firsthand experience as parents.

Donna K. Wells, M.Ed., M.P.A., and Bruce C. Morris, J.D., youth-leadership and safety experts, served as the governor-appointed Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. Having worked in the public-safety arena for two decades, they lecture frequently on and have authored numerous articles on public safety, personal safety and responsibility, and criminal justice. Their most recent collaboration is Live Aware, Not in Fear: The 411 After 9-11, also a book for teens. Each with teenage children of their own, they offer the benefit of their professional expertise, as well as their firsthand experience as parents.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE


U R
(You Are)
My Part of Reality

I've got an odd sense of reality. Sometimes the line between imagination and reality can become very fuzzy. Who's really to say? Shakespeare once wrote, 'All of life's a stage, and all of us merely players. We have our entrances and exits, and one man will play many parts.' Life and our reactions to it are entirely depen­dent upon the story we create. All people have their own image, their own character and their own role to play. What they do with it is up to their discretion. Some people decide to break the character of others in order to build their own; some work together to create something better than what they started with; and some find their own unique existence. No one can truly understand another person, and sometimes people cannot truly understand themselves. For me, I don't want to understand. The mystery makes life fun, and mystery creates the imaginary movie of my life. I see my life as a movie. Perhaps it is egotistical of me, but I find existence to be more interesting that way. I see interwoven plot lines, hear the inner monologues, see the different camera shots and hear the background theme music. Some people call me crazy. I call it . . . well . . . crazy, but in the most positive way possible.

I think I am a very unique person. I suppose I should start by saying I'm an optimist, or at least try to be. I have my own character and own place, even if I don't quite comprehend what they are. My self-esteem isn't entirely up to par, but I choose to find the good within myself. I've created an entire viewpoint and system of living with this mind-set. I've saved myself from pain and frustration with this mind-set. I have also broken myself with this mind-set, my hopes getting too high only to be shot down too hard.

I'm an intricate person. No one has seen every side of me, and some sides have only been seen by me—and perhaps my cat. I hold a different persona for every place I go, sometimes on purpose and sometimes I subconsciously change to fit or contrast my surroundings. People have been both intrigued and scared by this. I can only express this through a series of stories.

Over the years, I have experienced love, lust, possibilities and let-downs at the beach. It is where I let out all the emotions I've trapped from the previous year. This, obviously, changes who I am. The people I have met there have seen quite a few sides of me. The first time they met me they were introduced to the perky, curious and innocent side of me. I hadn't an ill word to say, and all I knew were beginnings. As time progressed, the world changed me, and they were subjected to cynicism and bitterness woven into the same optimism I hold onto. I've turned entirely mellow, or I've gone completely crazy, running about and just generally making a fool of myself. I've been witty, I've been flaky, but they've chosen to see only a few.

In recent years, they've even gone so far as to tell me I can't be who I am. I have to be who they met at first. They refuse to admit I've changed, and especially that they were part of the reason I've changed. This past year, I grew especially close to one of them, and countless times he was determined to see me happy and perky and otherwise not mellow and really at peace. I had a few things to let go of, but I chose to do that alone when I had the chance. I warned him that there was a very different side of me when I was away from my beloved ocean, and that if he ever got a chance to see that side of me, I was sure he would be surprised. He didn't entirely believe me at the time and continued in his determination. It turned out that we talked a lot more upon parting, and he admitted that he saw a change and said he liked it. After a while, however, I suppose he simply couldn't take the fact that I didn't stay as one. I rapidly changed, as some people have already grown used to, but he couldn't. 'You're scary,' he said. 'Be the person you were at the beach. She wasn't scary.' I hadn't the faintest idea how to react. The only thing I understood was that he didn't want me to be myself. I was to be a worldly creation, molded by what others wanted to see.

That's another point about my reality. I'd purposefully hidden many sides of me for the sake of protecting others and for the sake of creating an image of who I wanted people to see. Recently, I haven't been able to hold back as much as I'd like, or perhaps I haven't wanted to. Those subjected to it didn't react very well. They were used to the always cheerful, never angry and tolerant Shelly. Once she was gone, they took it as my not caring anymore. They were scared. They didn't know how to react. I suppose I created this for myself, but I didn't know how to react either. I couldn't stand it anymore. I have even frightened my mother and grandmother with my change in persona.

But I like me this way. I can't imagine myself any other way. I've hurt others and myself, but I've also lifted myself to immeasurable heights, and I will always know that I've lived, reacted and created my reality. I don't believe I'm the only one like this, and I don't care to label myself, but I can say that I am a player, and I possess my many parts, and I am another small part of this crazy reality. And that's all I ever want to be.

—Shelly, age 16

©2008. Donna Wells, Bruce C. Morris. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Reality Quest. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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Table of Contents

Contributors xi
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction xv
1. UR (You Are) 1
Self-Image and Self-Esteem
What a 'Tude!
The Whole and the Parts
2. I M OK (I'm OK) 31
Eat to Live, or ... ?
Overindulgence
In Your Dreams
Emotionally Speaking
3. POS (Parent Over Shoulder) 65
Community of Purpose
Defining Family
Origins
Failing to Communicate
4. BFF (Best Friends Forever) 95
Pure Peer Pressure
Leaders, Loners and Losers
Among Friends
Love and Romance
5. FYI (For Your Information) 131
Making the Grade
Honest or Not?
Getting In (to College)
Safe and Secure?
6. FWIW (For What It's Worth) 161
Mere Technicalities
Time to Travel
For Work and Money
7. BTW (By The Way) 191
Teen Power--Your Market Share
Habits, Hobbies and Hanging Out
8. OMG (Oh My Gawd) 215
Age Matters
Behind the Wheel
Lonely Together
Risky, but Not Risque?
9. GZG (Got To Go) 247
Fit for Life
The Future Is Yours
IM Glossary 261
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