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March 18, 2009 > Teens Taking Responsibility

Teens Taking Responsibility

Submitted By Mark Hansen

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling encapsulated the recent presidential election when she said "Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth."

By many accounts, it was the youth vote that carried the election for Barack Obama, a young candidate facing off against a man in his 70s. An estimated 23 million young Americans under the age of 30 voted in 2008's presidential election, an increase of 3.4 million compared with 2004, according to overall vote count projections by a study released by Tufts University.

This update is reflective of the responsible, more active role in the world around them. Responsibility is one of the seven traits that Mark Hansen, author of Success 101 for Teens: 7 Traits for a Winning Life from Paragon (, believes is important for teens to take the reins of their future adulthood. Hansen was gratified, but not surprised, by the data.

"Everywhere you go you hear many confusing messages as it pertains to our youth," Hansen said. "Our youth are hearing daily about gangs, drugs, crime, violence and see images of each of these in different movies, lyrics in songs they hear, and shows they watch. We hear so much talk about what we want for our youth, but have not provided a road map to get there. However, the role played by youth in the last election was remarkable, in that their activism and participation in the democratic process helped steer the leadership of the most powerful nation on Earth. So, maybe this is the time to fully engage them in a discussion about how to make their futures even brighter."

Hansen's conviction is that we need to take advantage of this momentum, and teach our youth the seven traits he feels are important to making the most of their lives. They are:

* Determination means being committed to what you want to achieve and making sure you are mentally and physically prepared.
* Responsibility revolves around accepting full responsibility for ourselves. We are each the only example of who we are, we are each in charge of our own behavior and actions.
* Confidence is about believing in yourself, because if you don't believe in yourself, no one will.
* Love means understanding the power of that emotion. It has the power to drive us to do both wonderful and dreadful things, and we must be able to manage that power with wisdom and judgment.
* Persistence maintains that you must stick to what you are looking to achieve and continue forward with making sure what you are doing is supporting what you want to accomplish.
* Dreams are important, because they are the fuel for our engines. We must keep each of our dreams alive, each of our personal dreams that we have for ourselves.
* Attitude is about making choices. Each morning when we wake up we have a choice and that attitude we take for ourselves is our choice. A consistent positive attitude is the attitude we need to have in order to accomplish all of our dreams.

"Every day there are discussions in area media about problems with our youth," Hansen said. "Just read the papers each day. My belief is that we must counter that attack and provide a step by step guide for our youth to follow, empowering them for a winning life."

About Mark Hansen

Mark Hansen is a successful businessman and a former elected official who relates to struggles in adolescence because he went through tough times after being hit by a car as a child. His struggle to overcome partial paralysis and regain the abilities to walk and talk underscores the passion he has for teaching young people the lessons he learned the hard way.

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