As a father of a growing teen daughter, I have always striven to expose her to a lot of role models. I very strongly believe that, as parents our basic responsibility to our children is to give them a very broad exposure, inculcate the right values in them and then give them freedom make their own choices.
Apart from finding opportunities to a make my children meet a lot of different people in various walks of life, books have been a trusted ally in this quest. In today’s world, when the ideals for the growing youth are very difficult to find, I came across a great book that provides 101 stories to inspire the teens from their own contemporaries, Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: Teens Talk Growing Up. I have been a fan of the Chicken soup for the soul books for a long time, and became a bigger one after reading this book.
Teens are neither kids nor adults. They are in a vague phase called adolescence. This is the age where a person would build thoughts and emotions. This is the phase in life, where an individual is at the peak of his hormones. Most teens go through similar situations in that phase of adolescence. Their problems seem grave then, and they need advice. A wrong advice given at this age, could make a huge difference, because this is the age where a teenager would be building his own views. Most teens will also not go to their parents for their problems or any kind of situations for that matter. Even though they might trust their parents, it may not be easy to talk to them.
What a teen would need at such a point in time, would be to learn from somebody else’s experience with whom they can identify. The book gives 101 experiences of teens of India in different situations.
Teens in India, are an aspiring bunch of people. They dream big! Each one of them would want their respective lives to be full of success, prosperity, love and much more. To get these things in life, they may have to go through many ups and downs first. This book is a collection of such ups and downs, and happy endings or lessons learnt.
There is the story of Anushka Sharma, who had a chance to interview Krushna Patil, the youngest Indian Everester, but failed the audition as she was so nervous in front of the audience that she just couldn’t utter a word. She learnt an important lesson that “To succeed, your desire for success has to be stronger than your fear of failure”.
And there is the story of Ananya Gouthy, who never wanted to be on Facebook, but got introduced to it as a way of keeping in touch with new friends she made at a camp. However, soon FB took control of her life and she lost out on her contact with her parents and close school friends. That’s when the teacher banned Facebook for a whole week and Ananya realized she was addicted to FB and shunned it, getting her life back.
And there is Akshay, who had to give up his vision of joining the air force as a pilot since his eye sight was not good enough. He decided to join the army instead, firmly believing “When you ask god for something and he says ‘not now’, it means He wants to give you something better”.
There is Kadambari, who successfully fought Anorexia, and in the process learnt that impossible says I’m possible. And that we can’t choose situations in our lives, but definitely can choose between becoming better or bitter.
The book has many such gems. Must read for all the teens and their parents too.