LANGUAGE ARTS 9 H/R Reading Informational Text The read the following reading sample and answer the two extended-response questions at the end of the article. 16 points. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Lets face it, being a teenager in the modern world is tough. You have to deal with school challenges, family situations, friend drama, extracurricular activities, and sometimes even job stress. Youre probably thinking, Tell me something I dont know. Okay. I will. The chaos that encompasses a teens life does not go away. It only intensifies. As an adult you may not have school challenges anymore, but family situations and friend drama still exist. Job stress actually increases, and once you reach the point when you will want to have children of your own they bring their own challenges (By the way, it is at that point you will realize your parents werent as dumb as you always thought they were). So if there is always stress, what should we do? Run screaming into the night? Go into the wilderness, curl up into a ball and cry?
Many years ago a writer named Sean Covey wrote a book that was designed to help teens alter their behaviors in order to better deal with the stresses that come along with daily life, and as a result become more productive adults. The book, entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, was modeled after a book his father wrote, called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The fathers book was intended to be used by adults to make them better professionals in the workforce. Both books were centered on seven basic things that effective or successful people do, and the opposite habits of those who are not so productive. The effective habits are: 1. Be proactive. Being proactive means that you think ahead, that you are planning for any situation that might cross your path. Think about your academics when you think about being proactive. If you find out on Monday that you have a test on Friday, then studying every night is a proactive way to prepare, as opposed to waiting until Thursday night (or Friday morning. You know what Im talking about.) to review the information. 2. Have a goal in mind. I once had a student tell me in March of her senior year that she was hoping to get into The University of Florida. Great, I told her. When did you apply? Her answer was simple and shocking. Oh, I havent yet. For those who dont know, U.F. is a pretty tough school to get into, and at the time I think their application cutoff was in November, a full four months before my conversation with this student. This habit actually has two parts. My student had a goal, which of course is the easy part. We all want to achieve certain things, whether its an academic goal, a career goal, or maybe you want to be the next great reality star (like Snooki or Donald Trump). Where she missed the mark was that she was not actively working toward that goal. She really had no idea what she needed to accomplish in order to hit her goal. 3. Put first things first. This is a pretty obvious habit of successful people. Rather than jump on Facebook or the Xbox 360 for six hours after school, effective teens realize the importance of finishing their homework first, and then playing games or messaging friends later. 4. Think win-win. The people who follow this habit are the ones who are very positive, even in the toughest of circumstances. These people are the ones who, when faced with adversity, might say, Well, that didnt work out like it was supposed to, but its okay. I learned a lesson and will make it better next time. 5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This one might be the toughest for teens to do. To seek first, then to be understood means that in any situation you would listen and observe first, and wait until the proper time to offer up answers, suggestions, comments, or questions.
6. Synergize. This is a big S.A.T. word that means, Work together. Weve all had group projects that have gone badly in school, but if you synergize you are putting those negative experiences behind you and demonstrating that you are willing to work within a group structure. P.S. - Having to work with other people doesnt stop once you leave high school, so you might as well get used to it. 7. Sharpen the Saw. As it was stated above, the life of a modern teen is busy. Think about your own schedule. It probably looks a little something like this: 6:00 AM to 7:15 AM- Wake up and get ready for school, eat breakfast, etc. 7:15 AM to 2:25 PM- School 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM- Practice (Band, Football, Ping Pong, etc.) 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM- Work 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM- Homework, studying, Facebook, etc. This is just an example, but it emphasizes the point that we all have a lot to do. Habit 7 reminds us that we need to periodically relax and rest, that occasionally we need to stop what we are doing and reboot for a little while. --- We cant be good all of the time, but people who follow the majority of these habits the majority of the time are usually the ones who find themselves at the top of their respective class. But what about the flip side? We have all known someone who has either fallen on their face, metaphorically speaking, or tried to cause us to do it. These people are using defective habits. The defective habits are: 1. React. Reactive people are the type that never plans ahead, and thus is usually left in an uncomfortable place. They tend to shy away from taking responsibility for their own actions. Everything is always someone elses fault. 2. Have no goals. A college buddy of mine always pops into my head when I think of this habit. Hes a great guy, sure, but he is in his late thirties and has started college three times. It usually takes about 120 credit hours to earn a Bachelors Degree. He has 9. Someone who follows this habit is planning to live on his or her parents couch until age 45. 3. Put first things LAST. These people have no priorities. Video games are always more important than school. Having fun always takes precedence over working. 4. Think win-lose. There is a great Saturday Night Live skit called Debbie Downer that is a great example of this type of person. In the sketch, no matter what any other character says, Debbie can always come up with a negative response. When it comes to the classroom, this type of person is the one no one else wants to work with, due to their insistence that everyone elses ideas are always wrong. 5. Speak first, and then pretend to listen. This is the tendency of a significant percentage of teens. Admit it. There has been at least one time in your life that you were less than attentive. In many cases teens would rather talk, then talk, then pretend to listen to other peoples opinions. 6. Be a loner. Dont ever try to work with other people. Those who follow this habit tend to hate group work. Their attitude about working with others is that other peoples ideas stink, or that the others wont do it well enough. 7. Wear yourself out. Get so involved in activities you never get the chance to rest.