“BEING A TEEN”: MY NEW BOOK ON ADOLESCENCE

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My new book, “Being A Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More,” is officially coming out Tomorrow! Though people are already buying it, via Amazon etc. I’ve been doing lots of interviews and the response is thrilling for me. Obviously it’s adults I’m talking to but they’ve read the book and say they’ve learned things even they didn’t know and, those who have teens, have told me they want their child to read it. Heartwarming words!

I’ve been working with teens around issues of sexuality, self-esteem and relationships for several decades. I began to notice what teenagers wanted and needed from adults in the 1970s & ‘80s when my then-husband, Tom Hayden, and I ran the Laurel Springs Performing Arts Children’s Camp north of Santa Barbara, CA. I got far more deeply into it when I moved to Georgia after marrying Ted Turner and founded several organizations dealing with adolescence. I have a passion for this work, partly because, when I was a teen, I was very confused, not particularly happy, awkward about negotiating relationships with boys and didn’t know where to go for answers.

I wrote the book because I was asked many times over questions like (from girls) “how do I know if I’m in a real relationship?” and “how can I say ‘no’ and still be popular?” and “when is it okay to have sex?” I would see boys so confused and sad because they felt they treated girls well and were their best friends but couldn’t seem to get them to be their girlfriends. So many young people my non-profits work with don’t understand enough about how their bodies work, don’t know enough about ways to prevent getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant, or how to avoid getting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)., think that oral sex isn’t really sex and can’t give them an STI. Wrong!

There is so much misinformation about these things floating around that I felt that the health of these teens–their future happiness even–was on the line. I wanted to write about it so I could help not just the young people I met in Georgia, but teens across the country who needed more access to information.

Here are a few excerpts from the book:

YOU NEED TO KNOW & TRUST YOUR INTIMATE PARTNER

You can’t trust your partner if you can’t communicate honestly. Ideally, any amount of physical intimacy should be matched with an equal amount of emotional intimacy. When you know and trust someone, you are much more likely to have safe and satisfying sexual experiences with them. If you do not know someone well, any type of sexual experience with them could be risky – both physically and emotionally.


WHEN IS IT NOT A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP?

It is not a healthy relationship if there is abuse or pressure of any kind. You should not allow disrespectful language,subtle pressure or deception in an intimate relationship. It should go without saying that anyone who puts you down, uses violence against you or tries to force you into sex is an unhealthy partner. You should never tolerate any form of physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse in what issupposed to be a loving relationship. It is also wrong for your partner to threaten to hurt him or herself as a way to pressure you to do things you may not want to do. Even if your partner eventually apologizes for this behavior, it is still destructive and should not be tolerated. Be wary of partners who are obsessively jealous and paranoid,always suspicious and accusing, even if all you’re doing is only talking to someone else. Don’t stay in an abusive relationship thinking you can change your partner! It never works.


THINKING ABOUT WHO YOU ARE: YOUR IDENTITY

Maybe you’ve begun to examine the values and beliefs that you’ve been brought up with. You are starting to think more for yourself and, as you continue to learn and grow over the years, you’ll notice that things you feel sure of today may change many times.

During your teenage years is the time when your identity is being developed—who you are as a person, on your own, separate from your parents and friends. Because you are just getting to know who youare, it’s easy to be influenced by what others think of you– classmates, teachers, coaches. It’s a good time to appreciate who you really are instead of what others want you to be. Think about the ways that you are different from your friends and family and the ways you are the same. Try writing them down. Sometimes, when you write things down, it’s easier to think about them, analyze them and feel sure of opinions.

What kind of person are you, or do you are want to be. Do any of these words come to mind: Kind, considerate, generous, honest, loving, funny, smart? I didn’t ask what you wanted to do in your life, rather my question is about your being—how you’d like to be in the world. Write down the things you’d like to be and from time to time think about whether or not your actions, the friends you choose and the things you do are contributing to your becoming this person you’d like to be.


SEXTING

Never send a nude or partly nude photo or video of yourself or any sexual text to anyone! You may think it will remain between you and a current friend but someone who you think is your girl friend or boyfriend may get mad at you or want to brag about you, and send it to others and it can go viral. It can ruin your reputation and embarrass you or make you seem really stupid. The photo can live forever on cellphones and even on social networking sites. The police may be called in and there could be serious consequences. It could result in you having to move from where you and yourfamily live, and even then, the damage may follow if people recognize you.

Sexting may be going on all around you inmusic videos and elsewhere, but don’t be foolish enough to engage in it yourself. Respect yourself and be smart. Remember, you can never take it back, or control who sees it. It will be out there forever.

At the end of each chapter I give information about organizations & resources where you can get help, advice and/or more information. And by the way, all profits from “Being A Teen” goes to GCAPP.

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45 Comments
  1. Hi Jane
    So good to see you on TODAY and listen to your messages.
    I have to say, sit down, although you may know this, it is now illegal for public school teachers to teach anything about contraception – except abstinence – in the public schools of Wisconsin. That’s right – it is included in legislation passed here.

    As an RN, a woman, a mother of three daughters, a once upon a time school nurse and even camp nurse, this is very dismaying. You can imagine.

    Do we have to strike up the band and start getting more active again in womens’ movements? Yes! We love what Gloria Steinem and others have done, but we need to honor them by continuing to respect ourselves by never stepping aside from all these issues they have brought to the forefront. We have to continue the important work.

    However, this is not just a woman’s issue – young men also have the right to get correct information – all youth deserve the truth about so many things, including sexual education. Thank you for your book.

    Also, also, as a nurse, I was an RN Case Manager in ICU units of a large hospital here in WI. I loved your response to Matt Lauer about “getting older” and end of life. We would not believe the number of people who have not had conversations with their loved ones about this, who have not looked at their mortality realistically.
    I also worked as a Parish Nurse for awhile and held adult forums for people to address these issues – not just from a religious stand point, but as reality. Death is not to be feared, as you feel – me either. Facing it and discussing it gives us the freedom to live such a better and more fruitful life. As a doctor friend of mine said once – “it’s the last part of life” – certainly as we know it here – or whatever a person’s beliefs are. Getting real about death is just a mature step. Pediatric patients do it all the time! So we better step to the plate, folks!

    I love your forum here. Thank you, Jane.
    Georgia Stapleton

  2. Jane; Thank You for helping to open the minds and hearts of those who are lost. If not for people like you……
    Namaste

  3. Jane, just ordered the book and watched your interview on the Today Show! Thought you and Matt Lauer hit it off well, but please tell me that those sky-high heels you were wearing were just “for show” and that you only walked a few steps in them, if that!

    • HA1 I WALKED IN THEM ALL MORNING AND HAVE NOW CHANGED INTO MORE COMFORTABLE BUT STILL HIGH HEELS.

  4. Congratulations on the publication of your new book, Jane! I can’t wait to read it, you looked gorgeous on the TODAY Show! 🙂 As an 18 year old, I would just like to say thank you so very much for always using “your celebrity” for good and thank you for writing what sounds like an incredible advice book for teens on how to stay safe as we grow up, you seem like such an incredible person and I truly love your films, you’re so talented, one of my favorite actresses- you always make me laugh when I watch Monster-in-Law 🙂

  5. PS…are you doing any other promotional stops other than TODAY for your book? Any book signings? I would love to meet you one day and get a book signed!

    • I did Charlie Rose. Not sure when it will air–soon.
      Dr Sanjay Gupta (CNN) which airs soon
      The VIew which was live on Tues
      and a bunch of satalite feeds nationally.

      Next week I do Queen Latifah and The Doctors

  6. Hi Jane,

    Just saw you via the internet on the Today show. Last night I watched – again via the internet – the Katherine Hepburn interview with Dick Cavett from the 1970s. How fantastic you both are. So uplifting and refreshing. You are both so wise and full of verve. You show us how good it is to be a life. Fresh, fearless and feisty. Fantastic. Thank you. You are changing my life.

    Love the blog about crying. Since I’ve hit my forties I get teary more often. Fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, family reunions, animals, anything by Pixar!!!
    But seriously, I think it has to do with the fact that I appreciate more these days and I am touched by the fact that I’m still here, alive, being a witness to all that is good.

    Have a wonderful day and best wishes from Germany.
    Jason

  7. Hoping that this book and your wisdom will be passed down for generations to come. Teaching teens about self-esteem early on will only work in their favor down the road. If we are taught to trust ourselves and be confident in who we are at an early age, we will be able to build on it throughout our lives and hopefully not have to struggle with it as young adults. Lord knows we have a hard enough time trying to find our way without the extra struggles. I hope that my future children will be able to learn lessons from you that I wish I had received as a teen!

  8. Sorry,this has nothing to do with your book, but I have tried several different attempts to write you and have gotten rejected every time so I thought I’d try this as my last resort..of all things I need information about your hair style…lol I live in Atlanta and would like to know who you used when you lived here. I’m 56 and I’m going to put my big girl panties on and cut my hair…LOVE your cut!!! If you could take 2 mins and email me with the information and answer a couple more “hair” I would really appreciate it…(won’t hold my breath)
    Thank you, dee dee
    [email protected]

    • I had my hair cut at the Sally Herschberger salon in New York and the stylist out in LA dos me hair when I’m here and Roy Teeluck in his salon on 57th street does me for TV in NY. xx

  9. Our community college library will be purchasing your new book. I am attending the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas and am looking forward to your presentation on adolescent empowerment. My daughter is now 29 and I am proud to say she has blossomed into a strong, independent young woman.

  10. Just watched your interviews on The View and The Today Show (on youtube), you are “still” very beautiful and attractive. I’m going to buy the book even though I’m not a teen, will give it to my kids when they reach the age.

    This is probably not the best place to say it but you were great in Old Gringo and Stanley & Iris, I think the Academy should have nominated you for both performances.

  11. I just saw you on CNN. Your interview was way too short! I wanted to hear more! I guess I will just have to read the book. 😉
    I would love to get my nieces an autographed copy . . . . and one for me. 🙂 Will you be selling signed copies? I am guessing you won’t be doing any signings in Michigan in the near future.

    • No but you can send a book to my Atlanta office, 1718 Peachtree St NW suite 465, atlanta, GA. 30309 and Iwill sign and return if you enclose a self addressed return envelope

  12. Hi Jane,

    I want to say Thank you for this book! This couldn’t have come at a better time for me and my daughter Megan who will be 13 this month. I have reached the point with her where it is impossible to communicate with her. I am excited to read this book with my daughter and really think it is going to make a huge difference in our relationship as well as her self understanding. I applaud you and can’t thank you enough for putting this out there for our teens and parents. It is also a learning process for us parents and I look forward to reading and sharing your book.

    Nicole B.

    • Nicole, so glad it will prove useful. Let me know how it goes.

  13. Ms. Fonda,

    I deleted my previous post. I’m not sure whether or not you read it. It was very personal (perhaps too). I’m not one to air such intimate details and feelings with complete strangers (well, sometimes not even with those to whom I am close). I went out on a limb because I felt you’d understand. After all, you’ve spoken of, and have shared, some very personal things in your own life.

    My intention was not to be dolorous. But I do have to be truthful, which means that sometimes I speak in a way that causes others discomfort. That you’ve done the same in your life — and on a national stage, no less — is another reason I allowed myself to be so open and vulnerable.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have written what I did. Perhaps it’s better kept to myself. Were I not in so precarious a place emotionally, I wouldn’t have done it. It’s just so hard for me to speak of what I’m experiencing with those to whom I’m close, especially since I know it would cause them worry. But having known loss in your own life, and having spoken of it so eloquently, I thought it wouldn’t be impudent of me to seek guidance. If I didn’t feel so adrift, I wouldn’t have done it. Maybe I should just learn to keep my fears to myself. People have their own problems, and it’s occurring to me that I shouldn’t be so selfish as to saddle them with mine.

    I offer you sincere apologies, along with much humility. I truly meant no offense.

    Be well, Ms. Fonda.

    Regards,

    John

    • John, don’t believe I received a ‘previous post’ from you…or perhaps you already deleted it. ???

  14. Saw you on Rachael Ray’s show yesterday. You look amazing and I took a picture of your hairstyle to show my stylist how I want my hair styled. Thank you for inspiring young people in our world. I am your age and have seen how young people have many more challenges than ever. Continue your good work! Thanks. Rheala

    • Rheala, thanks. Yeah, it was a good hair day. Not always so. xxx

  15. I just bought this book last night. My daughter and I began looking over it together and before I knew it, we were in a wonderful conversation where she was asking me questions and feeling free to do so!! Thank you for writing this. I know it will help anyone who reads it! Moms everywhere will thank you!

    • Stephanie, love love love hearing this. I couldnt have wished for anything better!!! Jane

  16. “being a teen”
    …and so much more. I watched the YouTube clips of you on recent promotions of your book and it got me thinking. You don’t have to be a teen to read this book. I found it to be a sounding board for a great conversation between myself and my husband. We grew up in the same town and will be married almost 43 years. I’m turning 65 and he 67. This book was a sounding board for an honest and really funny conversation. I opened the dialogue with your comments on the Rachael Ray show…when you were 9 and a young boy made suggestive comments and that you wished your mother sat you on her lap and explained it was not about you. Right then, I realized we could go back and give to ourselves something our parents couldn’t.
    My husband talked about “gang” showers and how once there was an “older” kid…maybe 9th grade, that was making fun of a pudgy younger kid with pale skin and no hair. My husband lifted his foot and meant to just kick the guy from behind but ended up with a quick swift to to his private parts!

    We talked about how we were pretty much left on our own to raise ourselves.
    So, this book is for all of us….it’s never too late-:)
    Thank you Jane Fonda… From your exercise videos to meditation …to all of it.
    You’ve had such a positive influence in my life all these “long” years. (I still buy “vegit” recommended by you a hundred years ago or so(!)

    Bonnie

    • Oh Bonnie, what a really nice letter. Thank you! xxx

  17. Jane –

    Last year around this time, you let me in on your Cannes trip with hints of a custom Versace gown and the number of days you’d grace the red carpet.

    Any insights this year? You steal the show every year. L’Oreal is lucky to have such a regal ambassador. Hoping for a extended stay this year with lots of fashion moments!!!

    Shine on!

    xoxo Blair

    • Thank you, Blair. I will be in Cannes May 14-15 but not sure yet what I’m going to wear on the red carpet. Stay tuned.

  18. Dear Ms. Fonda,

    I did delete the post after a couple of days. After deleting it and leaving you the above message to which you responded, it occurred to me that perhaps the post did not go through, as it was rather long.

    Just a minute ago, I watched the interview you did with Charlie Rose, and I’m feeling braver than I have in the past few days. Therefore, I’ll do my best to offer a condensed version of what I wrote a few days ago.

    As best as I have been able to reflect and discern, I’ve been suffering from a crisis of both faith and identity, the detritus of which is that I’ve been suffering from anxiety. Sometimes it’s so severe that breathing becomes difficult, and to focus on simple tasks becomes near insurmountable.

    For instance, take reading. As a writer and a person who tries to learn something new every day, propelled by curiosity and a desire to understand better the world in which I live and those who populate it, I’m an avid bibliophile. Fiction, nonfiction, various mediums (novels, stories, biographies, screenplays, plays) — it doesn’t matter, just as long as I have something in my hands from which I may draw both instruction, wisdom, and pleasure.

    But lately the act of focusing on a page, a paragraph, sometimes even a sentence, fills me with confusion and fear. “How to concentrate?” is the question that plagues me. Recently I read a short novel by Philip Roth — “Goodbye, Columbus.” I’ve read Mr. Roth for many years, and now I’ve gone back to read those works of his I’ve missed or perhaps read, was fond of, and wanted to read again. It took me weeks to read this piece, which clocks in at around 140 pages. It’s not about reading with speed and equating that with intelligence; it’s about the experience of reading itself. I found myself flummoxed, stymied that I couldn’t quiet the thoughts racing through my mind enough to be able to focus wholly on the task before me. And it frightens me. For reading has always been a pleasure and mainstay in my life.

    As for the racing thoughts, many of them have to do with mortality. As one who lost a parent at a young age, mortality is something with which I am not unfamiliar. My childhood — and also my adolescence — was pretty much truncated by this fact. For having lost such an element of innocence at so young an age made it impossible for me to play and think with as much abandon as my friends. I used to stand on the playground and watch other children playing, and as I did, I thought: Now there’s something I can never have again — that wonderful sense of a world in which only benign events occur.

    The thoughts that preoccupy me at present have largely to do with my mother. She is a wonderful human being. Selfless. Caring. During my father’s battle with cancer (he died in 1979), she was there for him. Always. So much so that she often neglected herself in lieu of being there for him.

    My mother lives with me now. She has medical problems of her own with which to deal, and I am honored that I have an opportunity to be here for her now as she was there for my father then. But lately I have begun to be plagued by the fear that one day she will no longer be here. And having dedicated my life to her, such a possibility paralyzes me. I so want to be present, but even now, of a day, I find myself analyzing with projected loss events as they are occurring. It’s as if I’m suffering from anhedonia, and privately tainting memories as they are happening by being filled with a sense of the moribund.

    I’m filled with such fear and premature mourning (for wont of a better term) that I have even considered perhaps I will go before she does and be saved from encountering a pain and loss I can’t even imagine. That’s how frightened I’ve become. And it is bizarre, because in my family I’m the one who has always been considered the Rock of Gibraltar. And now what I feel like is nothing so much as a fraud. I can offer others advice that I cannot apply to myself. And the fear is constant. I leave the house to go to work or the store, and I wonder if I’ll ever come back. That crippling fear of death — not only mine, but those of the people I love.

    At work, I’m on top of things, and often am revered by my co-workers and management team (much to my embarrassment). People look to me for advice. I uphold my end, perform dutifully, seriously, and hospitably, but the praise I receive is so hard for me to embrace. I often joke and shrug it off.

    In my writing, it’s the same. Recently, a film was made of a screenplay I wrote, called “Fidelia,” now in post-production. A teaser trailer has been released on the ‘net, and the director, talking with me on the phone the other night, told me how much he values my acumen when it comes to writing and films. “I don’t know anyone who knows as much you do about film,” he told me. And though I thanked him for his kind words, it was privately difficult for me to accept the compliment. I value his opinion very much, so why can’t I simply accept what he says? He was in town a few months ago, and he accompanied me as a guest when I was invited by Wil Haygood (“The Butler”) to attend a gathering at Wil’s alma mater. Later, my director-friend and I came back to my house, and I sat him down to watch some films (as I always do when he visits). We only watched one film that evening, because it was directed by Alan Jay Pakula, whom he admires, and after it was over, we talked at such length about it that there was no time left to watch anything else. The film was, of course, “Klute.” I showed him the Lewis brothers’ screenplay, and together we discussed various elements of the piece. (He, like I, agreed that no one but you could have played Bree Daniels so well; and he, like I, was grateful that Mr. Pakula ignored your request that perhaps Faye Dunaway should have played the role. I also pointed out to him the details you placed in Bree’s apartment — i.e. JFK’s photo — and how, as the film progressed, your tonal level became deeper, stronger, more self-assured. “That’s acting!” I told him. “Those are the kinds of characters I write for actors, my friend. It’s all about detail and specificity.”) As the screenplay I’m now writing for him is a psychological drama, I wanted to show him what for me constitutes a great thriller, which is all about character and atmosphere, not frenetic editing and simulated violence. As I spoke, he just started to smile and shake his head. “How do you do this?” he asked. “How do you know so much about…?” Et cetera. To which I replied (and meant it): “I don’t know. It’s just what I do. A passion as well as a vocation. I don’t dare dissect why. I’m just glad it happens.”

    But the reason I was unable to take to heart his praise? Low self-esteem. I understand the symptom, yes; but I’ve no idea the remedy or cure which will fix it.

    A week ago, the director told me that I now have a page on IMDB. I looked it up; there I was; and while I thought it would bring me a sense of joy and accomplishment, it unsettled me. I can’t fathom why.

    Why is it that others speak in admiration of my talent, and yet I cannot assimilate such opinions as applying to me? The work must be good, for I’ve been asked to write another screenplay that is to be shot this summer. I thought: “Terrific. Someone who has won awards for his work thinks enough of mine that he wants me to be part of a collaborative endeavor again. He’s willing to spend the time and money to bring to life a story whose genesis comes from my imagination.” Add to that, this: I’ve also been notified by a producer who wishes for me to adapt an autobiography for the screen, a story which deals with a freed slave and conductor on the Underground Railroad, a man named John Parker who lived the last half of his life in a town south of where I live here in Columbus. My work must be good if people have such faith in me; but if so, why can’t I allow myself to feel it?

    Of course I’m moved that others have confidence in my talent, but I wonder if my “talent” is good enough. I work hard at it, and I’m certainly passionate about it, but I can’t seem to quiet that spirit of negation; that sense of being a fraud; that voice in my head which admonishes me that I’m can’t really do anything.

    And through all of these things, ever present, is that nefarious specter: the fear of losing those I love. Fear that, should they be lost, my own identity would become nonexistent. I simply don’t know how to survive without my mother in my life. I lost one parent at so young an age, and to go through that again, after having dedicated so many decades of my life to the only parent I have left — I don’t think I could stand it. I really don’t.

    I have forgone a family and children of my own so that I could always be here for my mother, sister, niece, and nephew. I’m not complaining. I’m happy and so lucky to have them in my life. And goodness knows I’m inept when it comes to intimate relationships. It’s been over a decade since my last serious one, and it ended so badly that to try again is something I don’t think I could do. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair. How can one be whole and complete in a relationship if he can’t be that way with himself first? Nothing authentic may exist if you bring to it only half of yourself.

    The same is true for me with regard to platonic relationships, of which I have hardly any. I only let people get so close before I shut myself off. Two months ago, a friend of mine committed suicide, which has only compounded the anxiety I’m feeling. She was a beautiful young woman, so smart, filled with such bonhomie — and like that, she was gone. She spoke to me of the anxiety from which she suffered, we had some good conversations about it, and I encouraged her to speak openly with her doctor. She always thanked me for my advice. And never did I think for a moment that things were as bad for her as they must have been. How sad it is that this happens far too much. People go through life wearing a mask which exudes a beatific personality, and when that mask is shown to be comprised of much that is illusory, it’s often too late to do anything about it.

    Which is why I’m writing to you. You’ve helped me through some difficult periods. So much of what you wrote in “My Life So Far” resonates with me. I desperately do not want to be done in by my fear and low self-esteem. I want to go through a day when panic does not rear its ugly head. To read a book and enjoy it. To have a sound night’s sleep. To be present and not be questioning it from many different angles.

    I would try therapy, but it’s too expensive. Last fall, I was taken to the hospital because it was believed I was suffering from a heart attack. Tests were conducted, and the prognosis is that I’m suffering from severe anxiety. My cardiologist suggested I enter therapy, but at $325 a pop, it wasn’t possible for me to do it.

    So here I sit, slipping and slipping, terrified, and feeling I have nothing to lose in writing to you, someone whose intelligence, selflessness, and art has helped me, thus far, to stay the course.

    Forgive me the elongated length of this post. I needed to say this. I wish it were not so long.

    Regards,

    John

    • Dear John, you’ve read my memoir so you know I , too, have lost love ones. It was extremely painful to lose my father yet I feel him with me. I have come to feel we don’t ‘lose’ these loved ones. We have them all around us energetically. Not that these words will help you but that’s been my experience. And for god’s sake dont kill yourself before your mother goes. Think of the suffering you’d cause her. How terrible it is for a parent to outlive their child.
      I don’t want to be simplistic or whatever you might call what I will say next but I feel the need to tell you: When I was going through an utterly excruciating nervous breakdown, I was advised to take medication… the kind the allows the serotonin chemical to remain longer in the brain (if I understood correctly). It sounds like you have suffered for so long from low self esteem and anxiety that may be becoming life threatening. I strongly urge you to see a psychopharmacologist who can prescribe such a medication. Sometimes you need to try different ones–they don’t all work the same with different people. I took Prozac and it got me through a truly rough time. There are newer ones now. I’m not necessarily a pro-drug person, turning to meds for every solution, but it seems you really need something to help you deal. Even if you could afford therapy, the therapist would likely tell you that you should take what I believe are are called serotonin reuptake inhibitors in order for the therapy to be effective. You may see amazing results and it doesn’t mean you have to stay on them forever. I stopped after 3 years with no ill-affects. Just a thought.

  19. Hello Ms Fonda,

    Thank you so much for drawing attention to teenagers! I have been a secondary social studies teacher for 34 years, and I still believe I have the best job in the world because I have the delight to be a part of teenagers’ learnings and oh the wonder of it all. They are curious, lost, thoughtful. self-centered, terrified, courageous, brave, wonderful and so many other things. I love trying to help them learn the value of hard work, and of understanding the wonder of struggling to understand a difficult historical position, or just the wonder of being them. Every morning I look forward to going to work (despite all the criticisms of my profession) I absolutely love trying to figure out how I can help them learn and understand the world around them. When I teach the 1960s, I use music lyrics to convey the counterculture and what it meant to challenge the status quo. I always bring you in as an example of a woman who had tremendous courage and even a willingness to be vulnerable, authentic and brave. You are a change agent and exemplify all that we should aspire to be – curious to know who we are and how we can become all that we can be within this journey called life. I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit my classroom next time you are in Denver. Come share your life experiences with the wonderful teens I teach. At the end of every semester I do a closing activity called YOUnique YOU. I tell every one of my students what I have come to appreciate about them and what my wish for them in the future is. I invite you to visit on that day and delight in the wonder of the teenagers I have shared my life with.
    Blessings and many thanks for you being you, Stephanie Rossi

    • Thanks for your kind invitation, Stephanie. I like hearing from others who enjoy working with teens.

  20. Hi Jane – I was so excited to hear of this book, and can’t wait to read it. For so many years, we’ve been teaching our kids about the anatomy of sex, but neglected to teach them about the relational part of it – healthy boundaries.

    This is the motivation behind a bill in CA which would add sexual abuse and trafficking prevention education into the sexual health curriculum for junior high and high school students.
    http://californiaagainstslavery.org/about-senate-bill-1165/

    We’d love to have you testify about the need to educate teens on the relationship part of sex. The first hearing for the bill is on April 23 in Sacramento. Your support would be invaluable to ensure that all teens in California can have this important education. ([email protected])

    One in four girls and one in six boys experience sexual assault before 18. Kids have access to so many more tings now like technology. They don’t understand that at the press of a button, they can be involved in a serious crime that can hurt others and themselves for a long time. When a teen posts explicit images of their ex-girlfriend out of revenge or to bully her, he isn’t thinking that he is really committing sexual assault and production of child pornography, which can land him in jail for the next 50 years of his life. Even if a girl posts explicit images of herself, she can be charged with distribution of child porn, a serious felony. Traffickers/pimps are paying boys to recruit girls for them. They don’t realize that they are engaged in child sex trafficking and the gravity of it.

    • Daphne, thank you for thinking of me to testify in Sacramento but I won’t be back in L.A. then. x Jane

  21. Ms. Fonda, I wonder if there is any way to get your book into the schools? I’ve recently began working in the book rooms in high schools in California and am intrigued by their textbooks and reading curriculum. While my son was going through public school, I was highly disappointed in what wasn’t covered. I think plenty of what you address would be timely for freshman. Perhaps if authors initiate an effort to work directly with schools, that might change more quickly than what appears to be the usual channels.

    • I would love schools to use my “Being A Teen.”

  22. Hi. I myself am I teen. And let me just say that reading your autobiography changed a lot of things for me. It is my favortie book. You have inspired me in so many ways and I can even say that I am still here because of you. I struggle a lot and when It gets hard I just remember you. You are the most influential person in my life. Weird, huh? Anyway, I loved this book too. I was so excited to hear that you are writing a book for people like me. And it really did help.
    So, I guess I just wanted you to know that somewhere in the world there is a girl who is still fighting because of you. I love you, I wish I could meet you.
    Thanks.

    • Dear Dinija, thanks. This makes me very happy!

      • Another thing- If I happen to send you a handwritten letter, telling you my story, and a picture, would you sign it for me? I guess that’s as much as I could ever get from you, It would just mean so much.

  23. This sounds like a good book for teens out there, especially young girls! I wish I would have had a book like this as a teen!:)

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