Final Advice by Riley Beck

My amazing nephew gave me permission to share this paper he wrote for one of his last school assignments in high school. They were asked to give advice to the younger classes about what they learned while in high school. The advice given here is better than anything I could ever come up with to tell a teen who is going through high school or middle school. You could not pay me to go back to high school, but if I had to, I would remember this…

My Final Advice

A year ago my grandfather and I started going to dinner together each month. The first dinner he told me that if he could go back to my age he would never do it, unless he could take the knowledge he has now with him. When I look back on my high school experience I realize that I feel the same way.  Given the option I would never go back unless I could take what I know now and use it to my advantage.  Over the past 4 years I’ve gone from a scared 13 year old to an evolved, self-confident, and excited person.  With the knowledge I have now, I hope that I can convey it to you younger classmates so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.  One thing I have always loved and been inspired by is quotes. I’ve split this speech into sections based on words of wisdom. Each piece has had a sincere effect on me and I hope you will hear and learn the knowledge in each quote. 

The first quote is from Wreck It Ralph the quote follows as “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Throughout the movie we see Ralph wish that he could be like everyone else, and live in the apartments with all the other people. Everyone saw him as different and he hated that, so he decided to leave and go become a hero. As time goes on Ralph’s game starts to break down because there is no longer a bad guy to push the game forward, the characters begin to panic and realize that they really do need Ralph. Meanwhile Ralph is learning that everyone is a hero and that he just needs to be himself. He eventually becomes the hero by sacrificing himself and diving into the mento volcano to save Sugar Rush. When applied to myself I see that when I first started high school I was obsessed with being like everyone else. I sacrificed things I loved so that I could “fit in” . I spent my first three years of highschool being silently pushed around all in an effort to be the same as everyone else. But as P.T. Barnum said in the Greatest Show “ No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” Since realizing this I have evolved so much and have come to inspire people all around me to achieve their goals and to truly become themselves. So my first piece of advice is this, be yourself then friends and joy will find you. 

“There’s a benefit to losing, you get to learn from your mistakes.” -Megamind.  Megamind is an interesting character his whole life he tries, and tries, and tries. Sadly no matter what he does he fails,  but he never gives up. Megamind embodies an attribute that we should all strive to obtain and that is perseverance. I guarantee you will make mistakes in high school because everyone does. I made a lot of them but I have since realized life isn’t about the mistakes we make but it’s about the lessons we learn from them. My grandfather is fond of a saying “If you sh*t in your bed I’ll have to smell it, but you’re the one that has to sleep in it.” Life isn’t fair and it definitely isn’t easy.  A big part of making mistakes is having to deal with the consequences that follow. Sometimes these consequences are as small as a brief warning, or potentially as large as time in jail, or having a child in highschool.  Regardless of the consequences you receive from your actions you must take it in stride and continue pushing forward. Life is full of actions and reactions. It is up to you to react appropriately. So my advice to you from these 2 quotes is when you make a mistake, take a step back, find the lesson hidden within, then persevere and learn to live with the consequence. 

My next quote is from Captain Jack Sparrow “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” Sparrow is one of my favorite characters.  In every movie Sparrow is loaded with problems whether his ship is stolen, he’s jailed, he’s given the black spot, and for a time he was even sent to the underworld. While faced with all of these problems we never see Sparrow take on a bad attitude. Even when all of his crew doubts him he cracks a joke, smiles, and goes on his way. While he is eccentric and probably isn’t the greatest example on how to live he has an incredible ability to see the light and turn everything in a good direction. In all of highschool I have been faced with problem after problem. In the times that I have looked at my problems with a good attitude they seem to turn onto my side and my problems become some of my greatest achievements and allies. So my advice I give from Captain Jack Sparrow is to look your problems in the eyes, examine your attitude, and finally take your problems and turn them into your greatest achievements. With each problem you are faced with, find a solution and keep pressing forward.  

My next quote is “Even darkness must pass, a new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee. As Frodo and Samwise travel with the ring to eventually destroy it Frodo is faced with his darkest moments. The ring leads him into fear, anger, hate, selfishness, and despair.  Yet he has his friend beside him that helps him see the sun still shines, there is always day after night and there is always a rainbow after rain.  In my four years of high school I have gone through the darkest moments of my life, but also the brightest and happiest moments of my life. My sophomore and junior year I came face to face with loneliness, fear, depression, despair, obesity, and addiction. Yet I realized there are people around me that love me, I realized that there would soon be light. As I suffered in the darkest of night I remembered the light of noon day. You will be faced with despair, you will be faced with sadness. You will walk in the night these next few years, but you will also walk in the day and when you do it will be all the brighter. My advice to you from Samwise is this, regardless of what is happening to you, remember that there are people that love you and the sun will soon shine and when it does it will be brighter. You must experience the dark to appreciate the light. 

My next quote for you is this, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf The Gray. Considering all that I have told you, you must remember life isn’t all bad and it isn’t all hard.  The next few years you will have the most fun of your life so far! Remember to still have fun, go to the party, talk to new people, travel, try new things, and enjoy every moment because it goes by fast. My one regret in high school is that I didn’t have the fun that I could have had.  Don’t worry so much about the problems in life, just have fun and enjoy the freedom and time you have because it won’t last forever. “You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright. You only get to go to highschool one time so use your time wisely. Yes it’s important to get grades and yes it’s important to get things done. But it’s most important to experience. Experience everything you can and when you graduate don’t have any regrets, live to the fullest, live in the moment, and enjoy your ride.  

My final piece of advice to you is simple. Follow your instincts, follow your dreams, experience, achieve goals, learn from mistakes, walk in the light, remember who you are, and in the mean time don’t sh*t in your bed.  High School is what you make it remember Captain Sparrows advice and have a good attitude.  If you do this, high school will be the best four years of your life. Never give up, I wish all of you the best, I wish you success and happiness. Go out and take the world. 

Stop the Time-Outs

Normally, when I’m in a parenting class I will come on here and write the things I’ve learned with all of you. I want to share the wealth, and maybe help out a parent and child out there in the world. But this time, I was a little conflicted.

I am attending the same university, I am in the same major, Marriage and Family Studies, but the information was contradicting to what I have learned in the past! Talk about a standstill in my parenting. I wanted to just lay on the floor and tell my kids good luck in life, peace out! I honestly did not know what to do or how to parent. So I wrote nothing the whole 14 weeks I was in the class.

Now I’m trying to sift through to find the gold for you guys! Some of the lessons really sang to me and some I was like, nope don’t think so. I really believe every child is so different we can’t have a one size fits all method.

So here are the few lessons that really sat well with me.

1. Everything you do with your child should be done with love. Their well-being needs to trump how you think you’re being seen as a parent. Who cares what others are thinking! What is the best for you and your child? Are you judging your child a little too harshly? Does everything they do piss you off? Then you’re not seeing clearly and you need to work on yourself. Get yourself out of the box with your child before you start handing out unnecessary punishments.

2. Time-outs are BAD!!!

WHAT??!! Yes time-outs do not teach your child why they shouldn’t do what got them in trouble in the first place. Super Nanny you liar!!

The best thing to do is talk to them and explain why doing (insert naughty behavior) is not a good idea. Sending them to their rooms to “think about it” isn’t beneficial and even if they stop the act, they’re probably only stopping it in front of you or learning to hide it better. It is a short lived solution. I can vow to this one. They are in their rooms thinking about how you’re a horrible parent, trust me, they’re not having deep thoughts of regret and remorse.

3. Treating your child like a human and not an object will help with all areas of raising them. When we can learn that human beings, even little human beings, like to be treated like they matter, we can maybe start seeing some positive change in this world. Let me give you an example:

Mom, I am failing 3 of my classes.

Instead of: freaking out, grounding, yelling, taking things away.

Do this instead:

Shoot, what’s going on? Is there something I can do to help you? Do you need to talk while I shut up and listen?

Your child does not want to fail. Find out the “why” and how to help, instead of freaking out causing your kid to hide their bad grades from you. Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution.

Bottom line, you want them to come to you. You don’t want them to fear telling you their stuff because then you will always be in the dark. As they get older, it will get worse. Controlling your children is not the same as teaching your children. How are they going to be when they move out and you’re not around to force them?

Lost Sheep

“The lost sheep are not just the people who don’t come to church…The lost sheep is a mother who goes down into the valley of dark shadows to bring forth children. The lost sheep is a young person, far away from home faced with loneliness and temptation. The lost sheep is a person who has just lost a critically needed job; a business person in financial distress; a new missionary in a foreign culture; a man just called to be a bishop; a married couple who are misunderstanding each other; a grandmother whose children are forgetting her. I am the lost sheep. You are the lost sheep. ‘All we like sheep have gone astray.'” -Bruce C. Hafen

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” -Jesus Christ

It’s Your Diet

One month and 10 days ago, I started this pretty restrictive diet, accompanied with taking what feels like hundreds of supplements a day. To tell you what I can eat would be shorter than telling you what I can’t eat. Think of Adam and Eve’s diet, and there you go. No, not really, I can’t have fruit. The fruit is forbidden. See what I did there?

It has been easy in a way, because of the results, but also very challenging to keep on feeding my family, who are not on this same diet, all the while feeding myself the limited foods I can eat. Which it’s not crazy limited, it’s just not what I was eating before.

I didn’t start this diet for weight loss, although, that has been a bonus. I started this to help heal myself from my mysterious breathing issues that has all the doctors scratching their head’s.

One day, I woke up and could not take a full deep breath. It was as if my lungs had reached their full capacity and they would shoot right back down like a rubber band before I got any sense of relief. The fear of not knowing how bad my breathing would actually get caused me to have panic attacks, which did not help the situation. I have been dealing with this for 3 years!!! Imagine not being able to take a deep breath for 3 years. I stopped working out, hiking, riding my bike, running, walking up steps, I felt like I was a 90 year old women. I was CONSTANTLY tired and stopped doing any activity that caused even a little exhaustion.

After going to doctor after doctor and hearing most of them, not all of them, but most of them say that, due to me having 6 kids, it’s probably stress and anxiety causing my breathing issues.

Yea, all of sudden, I realized that I have 6 kids and started panicking…for 3 years straight…while on vacations…without my kids…while relaxing at a spa…I mean really?

I quit asking the “experts” and decided to go a different route after meeting this group of alternative healthcare professionals in Alaska. I told them my health issues and they said with a surety, we can help you. You mean to tell me after 3 years of doctor hopping and loads of medical procedures you can help me? With food and supplements? Yep!!

First, let me just tell you what I ate before. I am not making this up and I know it’s gross.

Every morning I drank a Fit Aid (recovery drink, even though I wasn’t recovering from anything other than waking up.) and ate brown sugar pop tarts sometimes with butter on them. For lunch I would have hot cheetos and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or Wendys or McDonalds or Five Guys. For dinner I would eat at another fast food place or restaurant and then every night around 1a.m. I would make myself nachos and eat those with hot cheetos and drink 2-3 glasses of chocolate milk. Now don’t call CPS just yet, I fed my kids totally different foods because I didn’t want them to eat unheathly. As I am writing this I realize how dumb it was for me to eat like this and it was only a matter of time until I had some major health issues. The detox coming off this junk was 1000 times more painful than when I got Covid.

Now, I eat a lot of veggies, no fruit because I have too much yeast in my body. I eat chicken, turkey, fish, and I can have organic red meat once a week. Luckily, I can have almond butter and a certain type of yogurt to curb my sweet tooth. There are times where I have thought, I just want a bacon cheeseburger with fries so bad, I am done doing this diet! Then I take in a deep long breath, with full relief, and remember how worth this program is. Within a week I could take a deep breath, I was off my ADD medicine and had more energy than I had “pre breathing” issues. I am working out again and hiking. This program saved me from a very depressing immobile life.

I am no expert, but I am going to chalk it up to maybe being super inflamed. There was no room for my lungs to fully expand. That is my non-professional opinion. I honestly don’t know, but I do know I can breath again.

I have also learned how to make good, healthy, food for my family and I have exercised some incredible self-control. I have 2 more months of this program and everyday I remind myself how great I feel and to keep pushing forward. Even if I am drooling over cookies and brownies. It all comes down to how much you value your health.