Teachers and college students regularly have a say in our pages. Today, we give voice to younger teens as well. We asked them to write about issues that matter to them - at school and at home. Many thoughtful essays crossed our desks; sometimes whole classes wrote in. We plan to do this again, so keep the contributions coming.
A Winter Walk
By Andrew Thomas
Grade 7, Green Bay, Wis.
It is a Friday night in early March. I turn off our computer, finally free of its grasp and walk to the window. The air is still, and bright moonlight covers freshly fallen snow. It is the perfect night for a walk. I call to my father, who is working busily in the basement. He is happy to join me, and his unfinished paperwork can wait for an hour.
We walk slowly. The packed snow crunches underfoot, as if protesting. We move away from the busy streets, searching for a place of tranquil solitude. Slowly, the night becomes quieter. Only an occasional passing vehicle and the crunch of the snow disturb our peaceful stroll. The serene stillness of the night is a welcome change from the noise of the day. On one of our more recent walks, we even heard the soft hoot of an owl in the distance.
Baird's Creek will be our destination tonight. We stroll past the high school that I will be attending in another year. The group of buildings looks large and intimidating in the darkness. I quicken my pace to pass it.
We arrive at the creek, pausing on the bridge. My dad recalls when he played near Baird's Creek as a child, bringing home frogs and other slimy creatures with him. I try to imagine my grandmother shrieking with surprise upon discovering a snake in Dad's coat pocket. Tonight, the moonlight reflects softly off the partially frozen creek. We can hear the distinct sound of the trickling water as it flows gently under the bridge. We turn homeward.
During our walk, my father and I talk about many things. We talk about things that are unfamiliar to me, such as stocks and money management. We also discuss school, sports, and the fish that we plan to catch when fishing season begins. As we approach home, my thoughts drift to a sunny northern lake, where I fight an enormous bass as the sun sets in the distance.
We arrive home, cold and a little tired. Dad returns to his endless paperwork while I get ready for bed, tired after the long walk. I settle into my waterbed, anxious to fall asleep. Maybe tonight I'll dream of landing that trophy bass.
Why Do I Like to Listen to This?
By Lisa Remington
Grade 10, Danbury, Neb.
Everyone likes music, whether it be rock, pop, classical, country, or another style. Why do people listen to music? There are probably lots of reasons, but the main ones are these: Music sounds wonderful and it lets people express themselves. Obviously, people listen to music because it sounds so good. Different melodies, harmonies, chords, and rhythms make music beautiful, no matter what the style. Music can make you feel relaxed. Music can make you feel refreshed or ready to do anything!
Music is a really good way to express yourself. Music tells a lot about a person; it can show what this person likes or dislikes, how he or she thinks, and what kind of attitude he or she has. When you listen to music, you can probably get a pretty good idea of what this person is like. Everyone makes music with his or her own special style.
Music can also express God. When someone plays the organ at church, or sings in the congregation, or just makes music at home for his or her own enjoyment, he or she is expressing God. I believe that real music is the good music that results when someone is listening to God and remembering where his or her talent really comes from.
I have played the piano for 10 years and give piano lessons myself. I also play drums, guitar, and the organ. I love to express myself when I have an instrument in front of me. I like music a lot, and listen to a little of every style. The next time you put a CD in your CD player, pop a tape into your stereo, or get out a record, ask yourself this question: Why do I like to listen to this?
Dating in High School
By Giang Pham
Grade 9, Alief, Texas
A boyfriend in high school can be fun and enjoyable: Going on dates, talking on the phone, or just spending quality time together.
A special someone is always "there." My boyfriend is a comforter when I need a shoulder to cry on. He listens and talks to me. He buys me gifts unexpectedly. My boyfriend also communicates sweet messages to make me feel better about myself.
There is a down side in having a high school boyfriend. My boyfriend is around me all the time. Having a boyfriend is also a disadvantage when it comes to my education. I can't concentrate on my school work, and my grades suffer. I forget important special events that happen in my family. These situations are unpleasant.
In high school, there are advantages to boy-girl relationships as well as disadvantages.
One needs to know how to balance time wisely. Maturity is required to know when it's time to have fun and when to get to work. There must be the understanding on both sides of the relationship to make the experience valuable for all persons involved. One needs mature judgment, decisionmaking skills, and wisdom to know the consequences of a wrong decision. Having a boyfriend in high school is a fun experience and must not be taken too seriously.
Stamina Training in a Saddle
By Leah Petersen
Grade 9, Kennewick, Wash.
One-hundred miles of rocky mountainous trail. Twenty-four hours of sitting on a horse trying to get across a finish line first. Sound fun? Maybe not to you but horse enthusiasts would call it the time of their lives. Endurance riding is a growing horseback sport that asks horse and rider to travel 25, 50, or even 100 miles over the roughest desert, mountains, and other terrains. The teams are competing to make it across the finish line before anyone else.
Along the trail, contestants will be stopped every 15 miles and a veterinarian will examine the horses to make sure they're not being overworked. Conditioning for this sport will mean many hours in the saddle traveling at a pace called trotting. Trotting is a ground-covering pace that does not require as much energy as cantering or galloping.
A horse used for endurance riding must have lasting stamina. The Arabian is one of the best horse breeds for endurance rides. These horses originated in Arabia where they were ridden in the desert for miles. If you love horses and don't mind sweating a bit, endurance riding is for you.
What I Think Really Matters
By Karen L. Salek
Middle-schooler, Sharon, Conn.
What's most important to me is being important. By this I do not mean being famous or daring. I am talking about being good. If a person receives help, yet gives none out, then that person might be regarded as selfish. These people do not truly understand what it means to treat others the way you want to be treated. I think it is important to love and be loved, learn and teach - by doing this, a person can accomplish a great amount.... I do think what I am saying is a hard thing to just do always and forever, but it is easy if you try, and if you are caring even for an hour, then you will have learned that that is a good accomplishment indeed. These are the things I believe to be most important, and even if no one in the world understands or agrees with what is written here, I am glad I have at least said what I have to say.
INTERESTED IN WRITING FOR US? Teens: If you're a student in middle school or high school and would like to submit a short serious or funny article (no longer than 400 words) for another essay page, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Students Write, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115.