A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. —Abraham Lincoln
With the end of the academic session upon us, I’d like to share a few summer reading suggestions. As your teenager struggles to not be bored, here are some ways to break the boredom.
The first book is, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World” by Admiral William H. McRaven. Your teen will be inspired to read the ten principles that helped Admiral McRaven overcome challenges in his navy career and in life. This is the written version of his commencement speech given in 2014 at the University of Texas. I know that many of my clients have watched the YouTube video since I shared the link in our first session. It is a great way to initiate the conversation on where your teenager wants to go and what success they want to have in their life.
Next, “Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. This is just a fun book with encouraging words and pictures. It is a collection of his best tweets and is something nice to read when your teenager is having a bad day. The tweets make me smile.
A third book, “Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness” by George Saunders. This was the commencement speech at Syracuse University in 2013. It shares that with all that you want to accomplish, remember how important kindness is in life and to our society as a whole. It is a short read but can also encourage conversation on being kind.
Fourth, “What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens, Third Edition: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job” by Carol Christen & Richard Bolles. This book may help your teenager discover their passions, skills, and potential college majors and dream jobs. When you identify your interests and passions early, you can make informed decisions on what additional schooling makes sense for your chosen field. It is a great opportunity to begin the discussion on college, community college, trade school. What path is your teenager or college student wanting to pursue?
A favorite, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide” by Sean Covey. It is a lighter version of his father’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen Covey. Both of these books are a great read. However, the teenage one lends itself to situations that teenagers encounter everyday and provides powerful questions to help the teenager discover who they are, what are their principles, values, and where do they want to go. I would have to say that this book is not a fun read in the sun, but offers a little more to ponder and discuss much like, “What Color is Your Parachute? For Teens.”
A tradition we started with our children when they were young was to gift them a book at the end of the school year. In this book we would recap their success and what gifts or natural abilities they had found and grown in that year. It is a great keepsake for your children as they grow up. I will be honest, we bought a book on something that interested the children. It may have been one of the Harry Potter books, to a picture book, “Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?” by Carmela LaVigna Coyle and Mike Gordon. The important task was to write in the book and to encourage the love of reading. Our children were also encouraged to read books to help them grow as individuals and to challenge their principles and values. As parents it is our responsibility to equip our children with the tools to be successful adults who will make a positive difference in the world.
I hope these book ideas offer up the opportunity to create a new tradition and new conversation with your teenager to build the relationship.