TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - Cynical adults may sneer when they say, "Youth is wasted on the young." But young world-traveler Ryan Pearson sees a more positive message in George Bernard Shaw's often repeated quote.
"I see it as meaning that youth is an opportunity to seize direction, enlightenment, significance and to expand one's powers," says Pearson, author of "Green Hope" from "The Element Series," about a teenager blessed with wealth and fame who discovers he has the added responsibility of super powers.
"It's sad that so many teens get sidetracked by trying to fit in with a crowd, or worrying that they don't measure up somehow. At a time when they should be enjoying a new sense of independence and capabilities, they're often paralyzed by self-doubt."
Pearson says all teens have super powers - they just need to recognize them:
• Your inner mutant: Many teens like to make a big deal out of not caring what others think about them, precisely because they care about what everyone thinks of them. This can make them sensitive and anxious about how they express themselves and what they enjoy, from what they wear to the music they like to the grades they earn. Embrace what sets you apart! No one else in the world is quite like you. Explore your interests and find what you love - whether or not it's what other teens love. You'll get a head start on developing valuable skills.
• "Punisher" fitness training: You don't have to be built like the renowned vigilante from the Marvel universe, but you'll look your best and feel your best if you establish a good exercise routine now. Not only will working out give you a nice physique, it's a good way to reduce stress and it even gives you a natural high thanks to the release of endorphins, chemicals that make your brain happy.
• Batman's first rule in fighting Despite the fact it would make his crime fighting much, much easier, the Caped Crusader absolutely refuses to use guns. That's because a deranged criminal with a gun shot and killed Bruce Wayne's parents when he was a child. The result is that his fighting methods are more moral and creative, and he always knows what to do when a quick decision is needed. Getting into the habit of making your own decisions based on your values and your understanding of right or wrong, instead of following the crowd, will help make even the hardest choices easier.
• Cultivate your "spidey" senses: Teens are naturally impatient, impulsive and impetuous. Slow down! Take your time on the road, in relationships, during confrontations and when contemplating big decisions. Part of why Spider-Man is so fast is that time slows for him during tense situations. Likewise, teens who can slow down emotionally driven decisions and better understand their consequences, much like a "spidey" sense, will make wiser ones.
• Know your kryptonite: Some kids just seem to have it all: academic excellence, athletic accomplishments, popularity, and a clear complexion to boot. But everyone has their limits, like Superman's kryptonite. Knowing your limits and learning how to work around them, or strengthen them, is a lifelong challenge for everyone.
About Ryan Pearson
After completing a Bachelor of Laws degree at age 21, Ryan Pearson took a leap of faith by leaving the beautiful beaches of Australia to travel the world. Eventually, he landed in Montreal for several years before returning home to write about his adventures. He overcame many challenging personal experiences and now embraces an audacious new lifestyle. Pearson writes about his own character arc - involving a supernatural and overzealous way of life - via character Reagan Jameson. Visit www.theelementsseries.com.