Do YOU KNOW how to cope with this unordered and un-asked-for expanse of time called adolescence and teenage? Do you know how to fill these years with unbelievable happiness and joy? How to saturate them with rich, full, abundant living? Do you know how to lay a solid foundation for a successful, rewarding, fabulous future? There is a way. And it's as sure as tomorrow's rising sun!
YOUNG men and women, what are your hopes, your dreams? What do you want out of today? Out of tomorrow? Next week and next year? Anything? Sure you do! You want what everyone else wants: money, fun, a car, maybe a job — all this adds up in your mind to one thing — HAPPINESS! You want life and you want it now! You want to live, love, play and most of all "belong." You want action, challenge and success!
That Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow
Some few of you may already have specific goals in mind, but you don't know how to get there. For most, the goal is not really clear. But it's there nevertheless — the "in crowd," being accepted by other youths, a career, life, fun, action, love, romance and a good secure future. You want to really live! And you want to live with a happy, tranquil mind. So do I! And I did so when I was sixteen. Am I now "over the hill" so to speak? Am I out of touch with life at sixteen, eighteen, or twenty-one? No! I'm still young — I remember and I understand what it's like to be young. I hoped and dreamed, laughed and cried my way through those years just as you are doing today. Did I observe these years from the sidelines — an untouchable, biased, opinionated, nicey-nice, holier-than-thou spectator? I partook freely and deeply — I lived every moment of those years — whether to my hurt or help is another matter — but I lived! I've been there, I know the problem and I know the answer! In an age when no one really knows, where there are no absolutes and all is relative — do I dare know? Do I dare have the answer? I do, and I can prove it! Wait! Before you decide I'm a real square, or offbeat, read on.
Becoming a Teen-ager
I remember reaching that magical age of 13 — teen-ager at last. From then on it was inevitable that I would live as the average adolescent and the typical teen-ager. Was my life average? I think so. Was it filled with the hopes and dreams, problems and disappointments, the heights of ecstasy and the depths of despair that all young people experience? Yes. You see, I have run the route you are running. I have torn down and put back together cars and cycles. How many of you fellows know what an M.G. TD is? Those of you in Britain should. The TD is a model of Britain's M.G. sports car. Some say it's the classic of the sport car field. I haven't forgotten how much fun it was to rebuild one from bumper to bumper, to completely rebuild the engine, rechrome the chrome, give it new suspension, a new top, and reupholster the interior and rework the body. I haven't forgotten how its candy-apple-red finish dazzled in the street lights. I will always recall how it attracted most men — and women. My buddies used to call it the "woman wagon." I'm familiar with the exciting feeling of slipping into a bucket seat, snapping the safety belt, flipping the key to a hopped-up V-8, slamming a 4-speed in low and dumping the clutch. I know how it feels to hear a cycle engine explode into life. And to jet along at breathtaking speeds with the throaty rumble of a cycle between my legs. I remember very well what it's like to scramble 4,200 miles on the back of a Harley CH — man, that's really living, that's exciting, challenging. To have that wind blasting you in the face, sucking tears out of the corner of your eyes. What am I — some kind of a greasy, black-jacketed, leather-booted, longhaired hood? No, just an average farm fellow that enjoys motors and machinery. Speaking of the farm — is a golden Palomino really at the end of every rainbow? Some think so. I'll never forget the excitement of saddling a spirited pie-eyed, snorting, pawing "pony" — as we called them. I used to literally tremble with anticipation of testing my riding skill against a thousand pounds of brute strength. After the bone-rattling, head-snapping few minutes it took to "top out" my pony, I could savor the early morning crispness and beauty as I checked a herd of fat, sleek Angus. Did this seem like living when I was 17, 18, and 19? You bet. That was part of my dream. I understand dreams — those that come true and those that don't! Life in youth can, and should, be full, exciting, thrilling, moving, challenging and rewarding — some of my memories are. But I can remember the bitter parts of my life as well as the sweet. Why? Because there is more of it to remember.
Life Can Be Pretty Nasty
It seemed that disappointment, doubt and disillusionment were always just around the corner. Trouble, trials and torment seemed to dog every step. Headaches, heartbreak, and hangovers always overshadowed those "good times" I had. It's rather common to young people, isn't it? Again I say I know, I understand. And I also know the answer, the way to avoid or correct that familiar mountain of frustration. Would you like to know the answer? You can, and it won't cost you a single thing! Do you remember how disappointments and disillusionments began to steal the show at an early age? I too have learned there is no Santa Claus. And rabbits don't really lay eggs, do they? I wanted to live while I was young — I wanted happiness, prosperity, security and also a great, huge, gigantic "blast" at age "teen-ager." To my mind, money was a big part of the answer. Money talks. I liked money. Money was security. Money was an education. Money was fun. Money was a car, girl, boat and drink. As the saying goes, "no mon, no fun." I remember making, investing and losing a cool 10 grand all in one year and all before I was old enough to vote. That was no fun! I remember I was somewhat disillusioned not to mention disappointed. I was left with absolutely "zero." Complete failure is no fun. I don't find it hard at all to remember what it's like to wake up in a strange apartment among strange people with a not-so-strange hangover. Ever try the proverbial seven-day drunk? Don't. You're right — same old hangover, same old kickback. Do psychedelic joints turn you on? They're another huge disappointment. Do I remember what it's like to get a "Dear John" letter? Yes! One more piece of security jerked out from under foot. Again and again and again and again. Life can be pretty nasty. It seems to have a way of handing young people the short end of the stick every time. I remember asking myself, Why? I asked myself if life was really as bad as it seemed. Surely things would start going my way "tomorrow." They didn't. I considered my personal life, the lives of those I mentioned above, and then took a look at the world situation. I took several days and contemplated the world and what it had to offer me. At this juncture in life my favorite saying became, "This life's just no stinking good." Similar to your philosophy? What's the answer? I asked myself that — just as you have. I decided to find the answer or die. That's right — unless I could find an explanation for life — I'd had it.
Finding the Answer — or Else!
I began to take notes on my thoughts. I'd study them and re-study them. I checked the cause and effect of all that my mind could entertain — I had to know what was wrong or, what was right with life. I still have those notes on file. I look over them from time to time now that I know why I'm alive. I think I'll copy down a few that reflect the thoughts that were going through my mind at that time. They are taken at random from different pages so they might be disconnected, but here they are! "I'm getting to the place where I'm literally physically exhausted and physically sick from going over the entire situation." "I honestly believe I'm going crazy. I have no peace of mind, I have no desire to live. If this is the best life has to offer I don't see any reason to pursue it further." "If I don't find that answer soon I'm afraid I'll lose my mind — and I fully believe that. One can only take so much pressure before you crack." "I don't really know how to evaluate my feelings tonight — I'm physically exhausted, mentally frustrated and spiritually enervated. Words don't really express how I feel. I imagine if I went to a psychiatrist for treatment they'd call me nuts — I wonder if that's not true." "I know there is no future for me like, this but what should I do — I don't know the answer. I'm too much of a coward to take my life and too much of a coward to live it like this. There is only one way that offers relief — somehow I must die." Well, I didn't die and I did find THE ANSWER! Maybe I should say it was pointed out to me. Either way I DO have the answer to life. I know why I'm alive. I know how to have a happy, abundant, robust, full, exciting life — with no headaches, heartaches or hangovers. No more disappointment, doubt and disillusionment. Oh yes, there will be some problems along the way, but they all have a solution. Young people can be as happy as any people alive. You can have purpose in life, you can have fun in life, you can really live — right now. And I say that on the authority of God Almighty. Yes, that's right. I said "God Almighty." There is a God that made you and me AND YOU CAN PROVE IT! He's the Designer, Creator and Sustainer of every life form that we see today. He's responsible for plants, animals and mankind. And He has a fantastic purpose for every human that walks this earth — man, woman, or child; young, old, or teenage. Hold it! You're probably thinking you've been tricked! You probably think I meant this to be a sweet, emotional testimonial and the next thing I'll do is ask you to "give your heart to the Lord." Afraid not! I said at the beginning I liked to live. I still do! And I am living. More fully, more abundantly and more happily than ever before. Do I still like cars? You bet. Do I still drive cars? I logged over 15,000 miles of travel last year from Texas to Canada and from Florida to Oregon. Going to quit? No sir! Do I still get a kick out of horses? Sometimes in more than one way! Last summer I rode every week and would now if I had the time. Sports? I play basketball about twice a week and just last night sat in on a real thriller — 125-112. Have I hung up my guns? No — I took advantage of dove season and deer season this past fall.
And Dating, Too!
Last summer I talked to a girl I once greatly admired. She was the high school heartthrob. She is a natural platinum blond, really beautiful. In high school I stood in awe of her, one of those look but-don't-touch deals. When I went back home last summer, this girl looked me up. I agreed to see her. While I was with her, she let her hair down, so to speak. I asked her some rather pointed questions Like: How much longer do you suppose this old world is going to last? Her answer was already formed on her lips —"Not very much longer." She said, "I know we've had it, it's only a matter of time." What did she have to look forward to in life? What great aspirations? What great achievements? All she looked for, all she wanted was happiness, but she found very little of that. She had ridden around in hot cars, she owned a Camaro, '67. She had been drunk, she had smoked. She had had sex to the full. Now there was nothing left for her. She had found out that these were only temporary pleasures, only temporary thrills. Hangovers are no fun. Lung cancer and hacking, nagging coughs are no fun. No, illegitimate babies are no fun. But, what does drinking have to do with hangovers? What does smoking have to do with lung cancer? What does sex have to do with illegitimacy? Ask the statistics! They can tell you all the painful, heart-wrenching stories you could want to hear. Stories that will make you sick, stories that will bring a queasy, uneasy feeling to your stomach.
Well, what is fun? What is happiness? Genuine FUN is something that has no kickbacks, no aftereffects. Genuine fun is good for you now and it doesn't hurt tomorrow. It is edifying and it is up-building. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. When you want fun, ask yourself, "How am I going to feel about this tomorrow?" Because unlike that girl I was talking to, you can have a tomorrow to look forward to. You can prove that, if you really want to, if you will really try. About now, you are deciding to quit reading this article — that is — if you have gotten this far. You are wondering, "Who is this guy, a long-haired hippie? A deviate? A wise guy?" To all these questions, my answer is "Yes." I am not long-haired, but I am "hip" to what is going on in this world. I have deviated from the norm of the establishment. And I am "wise" to the facts, the things, that, when the chips are down, really count! Not that it has anything to do with you, but there is a book which has a particular quote that applies to us. It says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Now, if the shoe fits, wear it. That book is the Bible, that quote is from Proverbs 16:25; also 14:12. And it applies to you! All the things which you think will lead you to happiness, will not. All the things you think will be fun, joyful, exciting, will not. That's a fact. The girl above found that out. Surely I can't really like women now, can I? Yes, I can. I've learned how — I've found the way to live. I have plans for marriage with the absolute guarantee that it won't end in divorce. There is a God in heaven who will show you how your marriage can endure — you can be assured your wife or husband will be a kind, considerate loving mate for the rest of your life. I didn't come up with this way of life, it's not mine. It's God's. He's the Author and the One who stands behind every promise of a happy, abundant life — a life with a purpose. What am I? I thought you'd ask. I'm a college student. What kind of a student and what kind of college? An average student in a student body full of young people who are happy and joyous. Students who know why they're alive and where they are going. A college where students are saturated with rich, full, and abundant living. Where the students are taught how to lay a sure foundation, and how to have rewarding futures. Does this sound too fantastic to be true? You don't have to be here to be happy. This way of life will work for you regardless of your geographical location. Write in for a free article on "Education at Ambassador College" and the booklet Why Were You Born? Find out about this way of life. Why did I write all this? Why do I keep saying I have the answer — that life, after all, is really worth living, that there really is a reason for your existence? Will writing this change my life? No! But it can change yours if you have the courage to seek the answers, find out why God created you, and get in step with His way of life.