I think one of the toughest and greatest things imaginable is being a teenager. I was just one, and went through all those crazy problems you’re facing now.
Like the fight for independence. For most kids, doing what they want to do usually depends on their parents’ permission. And if those parents don’t understand something is very, very important to you, and say no, well, you feel like starting a rebellion.
I know parents can be fair or unfair, but even when they say no, and it hurts the most, you can learn from them. I’m not preaching, I’m just thinking about a lot of time I wasted when I was younger. Like if my parents told me I couldn’t do something, instead of asking them why, and talking about it, I’d just stalk off, madder than heck. But the times I did sit down, even if I was really irritated, and heard their reasons out, I would learn something—even if I didn’t agree.
Parents are just teenagers grown up. They’re learned their points of view from their parents and so on. When they tell you something, they could be wrong, but if you hear them out, and find out their reasons, you can say to yourself, now this doesn’t make sense, and I see it doesn’t, so when I get a older I won’t make that same mistake. On the other hand, they may have very good reasons to act as they do, and if you’re square with them, not just selfishly wanting your way, you can learn to appreciate their good judgment.
Getting along with parents is a very difficult task at times, I know. But if you remember that they’re just human beings, with the same hang-ups as everybody else, then maybe you can be more tolerant of them… until it’s time for you to make those decisions on your own.
Many kids have asked me for my secret to success, so I’ve sat down and thought quite a bit about it and have tried to come up with some answers.
Really, I’m not sure there are formulas for such things, but there are definite reasons, I’m sure, that some people reach the top of the ladder, while others stay at the bottom.
Personally, I have always had a fantastic desire to suceed [sic]. Through whatever I have done I’ve kept my goals in front of me. When acting looked like a faster and better way to reach the top, I chose acting; and of course I enjoyed it because I was doing what I wanted—reaching my goal by doing something I was good at.
I think for all teenagers, who someday wish to succeed in whatever they wish to do, there are certain things that are very important. First, decide on what you want. Don’t worry though if there’s nothing you really want right now; perhaps you’ll decide on what’s important to you alter. But if there is something you want now, start for it. Stop daydreaming. Start doing everything possible to lay the foundations for what you want. IF you wish to be a doctor and you’re a girl, start thinking that without a doubt you will be a doctor. Don’t let any temporary setbacks stop you. IF setbacks had discouraged me I probably would never even have gotten out of Manchester.
If you persist—if you don’t let a crushing defeat stop you in your tracks, then you cannot help but eventually reach that goal so important to you. But it can’t be one that you only half-heartedly want. You must desire it with everything that’s in you; then you have to concentrate fully on acquiring it.
I know what I’m talking about. To be truly successful I’ve had to give up a lot of things for the moment. That’s been very hard to do many times, but long ago I decided what was the most important to me. For instance I’ve put off marrying the girl of my dreams—or even looking for her—for the time being. But when I do settle down, and also have reached my goals, think how much nicer that will be for the both of us.
Hi gang. This is a bad month for me. Seems like I can’t concentrate on things like “manners,” or such subjects. It may be dead of winter but I really have a bad case of spring fever. So I think I’ll just tell you about something I really like to do. Now remember, I’m a California boy, and a lot of things we do there would be impossible, say in Nebraska in February. But we have some of our nicest weather around now—usually.
What I dig doing depends on the time of day, of course. I think its’ the grooviest to wake up really early on a Sunday morning, take my cycle out and ride along the Sunset Strip. There’s hardly a soul there, and if it’s a clear day you can see all over Los Angeles, even down to that big blue Pacific. If I’m hungry, and I usually am, I’ll stop ant a coffee shop, maybe Ben Franks, and have some breakfast. Everybody in there is either going home after a nice long date the night before, or like me, they’re grooving on a great morning.
Then if I still don’t feel like going home, I climb back on my trusty steed and head along Sunset, through Beverly Hills and on out to the beach. And what a great drive it is along Sunset… the road curves between some of the most beautiful—and expensive—real estate in the world. There’s fantastic banks of greenery everywhere, and it just makes you wig out. When I get to the beach I’ll probably park my bike, and take a walk along the sand.
It’s funny in California in the inter. If you were inside a car with all the windows rolled up, it’s so clear and beautiful that you’d swear it was 90 degrees outside. But actually it’s a lot cooler than that, probably about 65 degrees. So nobody’s on the beach except me, and maybe somebody walking with their dog. It’s so groovy to be there all alone with the ocean and the sea gulls.
By the time I head home, and turn into my driveway, it’s not even 12 o’clock yet! And I’ve had the greatest morning ever. I guess that’s what they mean by “starting the day out right.”
I’m in the mood this morning to talk about a very old-fashioned subject—manners. Now there are all kinds of manners—good, bad and indifferent. But personally I prefer to see people with good manners.
Maybe it’s my Texas upbringing (we’re very polite down there you know), or probably it’s the idea that I like to be treated the same way I’d treat you. My mother taught me what good manners mean, and made sure I used them. And to this day I can’t see why some people think it’s wrong to show other people common courtesy. There are guys who seem to think that showing good manners to someone is the same as being unmasculine… which I think is pretty stupid! What do you think?
And today especially there seems to be a terrible lack of manners as far as girls are concerned. I know that there’s more and more equality between the sexes, but I guess I’m old-fashioned and can’t help but treat a girl as if she’s a little helpless. Sure, I help Phyllis out of the car, open the doors for her, offer her help when she crosses the street. I enjoy doing those things for her—and for all girls. And I know they enjoy that attention.
The trouble with many people is that they’re so busy hiding their own personal fears and hang-ups being a tough exterior that they’re afraid to be courteous to the next person. To let their guard down for even a moment means that someone may see what they’re really like—something much too painful for them.
And remember, if a person is especially short or discourteous to you without a good reason, try to remember it probably has nothing to do with you. If you then try to be doubly nice, and overcome their defenses, you’d be surprised how easily you might make a friend for life. All some people need is the feeling that someone else cares about them, cares enough to talk to them and understand them.