Lesson Learned (April 7)

“Navigating the Teenage Years,” a special program conceived by the Health and Wellness Team, provided a challenging evening March 24, 2022, for students along with their parents, grandparents and guardians.

The Mission Statement for Upshur County Schools is recited at every Board of Education meeting: “The Mission for Upshur County Schools is to provide academic preparation, social responsibility, employability and a desire for lifelong learning.”

Having an articulated Mission keeps the Upshur County Schools on target. Likewise, having a Personalized Life Mission Statement keeps our students on target. I will describe an example of such an idealized Mission Statement.

But first a bit about the evening’s format. We began with great food provided by the Pro-Start Career Technical students in the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Commons. Already the gathering was a success, for nutrition is vital to growth and development. Briefly I challenged all in attendance to create a Personalized Mission Statement. I opened with a Keynote Address (the content of last week’s “Lesson Learned” column) based on my life experience and the wonderful framework provided to me by the 4-H Charting program. Later, small groups personalized the task of growing up well and healthy.

The 4-H Charting model that is my Lesson Learned consists of a two-year process whereby a student examines what is important in his/ her life:



Model People Influences



The actual Personalized Mission Statement that I advocate has individual variations, but most likely includes a format similar to this:

“I seek a fulfilling and meaningful life. To live this life, I will:

Honor these principles … (enumerate)

Commit myself to the important things in life … (enumerate)

Admire positive characteristics in others and build these characteristics into my life … (enumerate)

Acknowledge my strong points and continue to develop as a person … (enumerate)

Face the challenges that may interfere with living out my mission … (enumerate)

Finally, after reflective thinking and in-depth discussion with family, counselors, and peers, a navigating teenager will sign and date his personalized guide, making this an important Charting Navigational Map. I suggested in my talk that we all need a “North Star,” such as explorers use, to find our way. The Individualized Personal Mission Statement can be a tool to help us chart our course in life.


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