Certificate of Empowerment for Teens

This is the text of a modified version of the Certificate of Empowerment I have distributed at homeschooling conferences for years. It was first created for Michael Eaton and I want to credit his mom, Barb, for the insistent idea.

Certificate of Empowerment

As bearer of this certificate you are no longer required to depend on the advice of experts. You may step back and view the entire world—not just your home, neighborhood or town, but the whole Earth—as a learning experience, a laboratory containing languages (and native speakers thereof), plants, animals, history, geology, weather (real live weather, in the sky, not in a book), music, art, mathematics, physics, engineering, foods, human dynamics, and ideas without end. Although collections of these treasures have been located in museums for your convenience, they are to be found everywhere else, too.

This authorizes you to experiment; to trust and enjoy your world; to rejoice when you gain skill, knowledge or wisdom; to make mistakes, and to say “I don’t know.” Furthermore, you may allow yourself to experience boredom and then find the wonders of the world around you.

Henceforth you shall neither be required nor expected to finish everything you start. Projects, books, experiments and plans may be discontinued as soon as something more interesting comes along (or for any other reason) without penalty, and picked up again at any time in the future (or never).

You may claim control of your daily life, and take whatever steps you feel necessary to protect yourself from physical, emotional or social harm. You are empowered to continue to think your own thoughts, and to encourage others to think theirs.

The world is better for your being in it.

Put it into a word file, fancify the "certificate of Empowerment" with WordArt or something, in an arc maybe. Put the child's name in gold, or calligraphy, or beautiful font in a favorite color. Format it all, maybe leave room for parents' signatures, print it on nice paper, deliver it ceremoniously rolled up with a ribbon when they move away or something.