Life is no playground for teenagers.
On Friday, at Berg Middle School, Iowa State Trooper Doug Cutts used that phrase to help convey his message of making the right choices in life to BMS teacher Jo Ellen Linn’s class. Cutts visits Linn’s class once a month and teaches the students various life lessons.
“We all make choices. Every day, you’re making choices out there,” Cutts said. “Who are you going to talk to? Who are you going to sit with? What are you going to do? Some of the choices are very easy. On the other hand, some of those choices are going to be very difficult.”
Cutts explained to the class how every decision they make now, can affect their lives for years to come. One example he used was the adverse effects of peer pressure.
“It’s Friday night, There’s an away game. They are in Saydel. So what are you going to do tonight?” Cutts said as he set-up the scenario. “Are you going to go hang out with friends, go someplace? Somewhere, someone is going to put you in a position where you have to make a choice.”
“Mom and Dad aren’t there. Teachers aren’t there. It’s you and your friends,” he continued. “You want to fit in, you want to be a part of the group, and that’s when you start to make some of those bad choices out there. Life is no playground for teenagers. It’s like a big maze. It’s full of right turns, wrong turns and its tough. It is tough out there.”
Cutts told the students the key to making good choices is communication. He explained to them how their generation is losing the ability to communicate due to the overuse of texting and social media. Actual verbal communication is a key to having a successful life, being able to make better decisions, and combating peer pressure, he told them.
Leadership was another important aspect, he said.
“Don’t let others control your life,” Cutts said. “Do you want people looking up to you or looking down to you all the time?”
Cutts also explained the students should follow the “Role Model” test, which means when you have a decision to make, you put yourself in the shoes of someone you admire to make your decision.
Besides championing the merits of good choices, Cutts told the kids what he felt were some of the negative consequences of bad choices.
“Bad choices are going to lead to unhappy, unfulfilled lives out there — drugs, alcohol, pregnancy,” he said. “Good choices lead to happiness and satisfaction in what you do. You are having fun; you have more freedom and get to do things without us parents standing over you.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.