Dear Youth

dear youth,

your life lies out there

somewhere in front of you

it has hardly begun

there is possibility,

much to accomplish,

high ideals,

a determination to do it

better than mom and dad,

to show everyone what you can do,

to prove you’re worth it


accept or reject this advice

but to turn a deaf ear

is to fail to heed the words

of someone who was

there far ahead of you


along the way toward your own glory

much failure will beset you

life will kick your ass

and there’s a chance you won’t

get to where you’re going

you may need to reset your compass

the best that this old man can offer is this:


never stop living

when life fights you

strap on the gloves and fight back

most of all, live

just live

live every single moment you have

dine at the table of excess

accept no second bests

set about to see the wonder

to feel every emotion

laugh insanely

cry every tear completely

commit to love only with one who will commit

the world is a big place that can swallow you whole

but you belong in it

go and make your mark


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About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on February 17, 2016, in Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. Lovely one John… I don’t like adding to people’s work. But this piece of yours moved me so much with the mind space I’m in, forgive me for feeling the need to say this too…

    And remember –
    there is only one permanent thing in life.
    It’s called change.
    Everything you believe,
    Everyone you know -including yourself,
    Will change.
    And the best part is –
    All the years of your youth you spent breaking your bones,
    Will count for nothing
    Because you will be in therapy –
    Completely lost,
    For you’ve been forced to unlearn
    All that you were tormented to learn.
    Ahhh change.
    Ahh life.

  2. Amazing!

  3. Ah, you’re soooooo right!!

  4. Seize the day! “Youth is wasted on the wrong people!” ~ Old Guy on the Porch in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

  5. This is so beautiful my friend,
    Perfectly said, couldn’t put it better myself, as much as I would have liked to my Son, who was taken so quickly 26 yrs this month, I will read this quietly later, just before I rest.
    Thankyou, (X)

  6. We can talk all day, but not make a dent. Did we listen to our parents? We all stumble along, thinking no one has been there before us until . . . until we have lived long enough to realize we are just repeating our parents.

  7. I liked especially the part about only committing to someone who will commit to you. One of my downfalls.

  8. Moving piece. Being at the age where these talks are happening with my now young adult nieces and nephews, I can relate. It is my inner hope that they listen. I enjoyed reading this.

  9. My favorite part “when life fights you
    strap on the gloves and fight back.” It speaks loudly to me and that has been my way of dealing with life. Thank for sharing this great piece.

  10. I feeling these words. In times like these we need to talk to our youth not at them. Give it to ’em straight, ya know?

  11. “…reset your compass…” Acknowledging this may be necessary, and permission to change our minds! 🙂

  12. Thanks. This makes me feel better about all the stuff I did. Hopefully will do a lot more but better.

  13. absolutely fantastic write by you.. one of my favs.

  14. I absolutely loved it. I am young, and we all face difficulties. And this is really helpful.

  15. John, I was young once. What you say is true except that you are not an old man. I remember your recent birthday so I already know I have a few years on you. To be more precise, I was already a teenager when you were born and I was drafted into the military the same year you celebrated your first birthday. To me you are still a young man with much to learn; so please let us older ones lay it on the line for the younger generation….:)

    • Thank you! 🙂 Each generation should learn from previous generations. I learned a lot by listening and observing. I’d be willing to bet that I could pick up a whole lot of knowledge from you.

  16. I’m new to your blog, I really enjoyed this. More importantly, It gave me some insight on life and I felt a bit more courageous to face it after reading this.

  17. ‘cry every tear completely’ Big three words.
    ‘commit to love only one who will commit.’ Yes and Yes again.

    So well done, John White. Thank you.

    • Thank you, JoHanna! 🙂 When we’re young we don’t listen too well but if those of us who are older can just get a few ideas to sink in with our youth maybe we can help. 😉

  18. So inspiring. Great words! A really top poem! I like!

  1. Pingback: Dear Youth – ~*~tightlines and sunshine~*~

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