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De Parte del Maestro

By Josh Flores

Where is your path leading you?
Being a young person trying to find your way has plenty of challenges on its own, and when you factor in the environment that you are trying to navigate, the world can seem like a maze where the wrong turn can have great consequences. 

Nevertheless, I have chosen my life calling to be right in the middle of that maze.  As a high school teacher, I am witness to the non-stop mini-dramas that make up the life of teenagers. 

As an adult and an educator, I try to get involved when I see an opportunity and when I feel the responsibility, which is most of the time.  Although I am sure that you have wonderful teachers and adults in your life to offer advice and serve as a guiding light when necessary, in this article I will offer my two cents on how to avoid some of the most common downfalls a teen will face.

Josh Flores


The teenage years can be some of the most exciting in your life—you have new freedoms and opportunities to make decisions for yourself.  Although you may not feel like you have a lot of freedom, you have enough to make a choice that could end up costing you a great deal. 

On the other hand, you can make some decisions that will benefit you for the rest of your life.  I am well aware that there are a number of things that many, not all, young people are beginning to do during the teenage years; but know this—it can be one mistake that translates into a situation you are not ready to handle, so be smart. 

Research indicates that young people who are allowed to make certain important decisions in their lives are better equipped to make decisions in their adult lives. 

On the contrary, young people who are not given the freedom to make decisions in their lives and have every decision made for them by parents or guardians are ill equipped to make important decisions in their adult life. 

When I was growing up, my pop’s use to tell me “mijo, all I can do is teach you what I know and share my mistakes with you…the rest is up to you.”  That approach to parenting allowed me to grow into a man, knowing that if any mistake made was totally on me and I had no one else to blame.

The bottom line is this, parents you have to allow your child to make some decisions on their own, which is how they will grow and become aware of the world around them just as they did when they were young.  Think about it, babies grab something and the first thing they do is put it in their mouth—this is how they explore. 

Now obviously, as a parent you will react differently to a baby grabbing a piece a food that has fallen on the floor differently to a bottle of household cleaner. 

So apply that same principle to your teen’s life.  For the young people, you have to trust your parents; if they say ‘no’ it is usually for a good reason; you may not like or understand it right now but you will one day.  It’s called paternal/maternal instinct and until you are a parent you will probably not understand.

Motivation…you have it or you don’t
Do you want to know the difference between an A and a D student?  The difference between okay and great?  The difference between 1st and 3rd place?  In one word, the difference is motivation. 

The reality is some people are born with a tremendous amount of talent, but I have seen a lot of wasted talent in my life, so it is not talent alone that will take you to the top of your game. 

One thing that I hear regularly in the classroom from my students is “student ‘X” is so smart” as if that student who is “so smart” was born that way.  But you are not born knowing calculus, chemistry, or multiple languages—all of those things are learned.  They are learned through hard work and sacrifice; the hard work and sacrifice that not everyone has the motivation to commit.

Where and how you find your own personal motivation is something that you have to discover on your own, but beware that if you have motivation to do nothing, you will gain nothing, and sadly may become nothing and that is wasted talent. 

Whether it is school, the athletic field, the community, or family, motivation is out there and the most productive people in the world are often the most highly motivated.  Once you have found your motivation in one area, if you haven’t already, apply it to other areas of your life.  Again the most productive people in the world are often very well rounded. 

The world can be a very intimidating place, especially if you are not prepared. 

I hope that this article provided you with some good ammunition to not only avoid some the hazards out there, but to rise up and achieve great things.  Remember avoid temptation and find your motivation and you are well on your way.  ¡Hasta la próxima vez!

I would love to hear from you about my column please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about.  You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ¡Gracias por tu apoyo!








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