Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems


Young Adult - Non-Fiction
73 Pages
Reviewed on 08/29/2021
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Author Biography

High School was a difficult time for me. My strategy was to be a nobody. if I was a nobody, I could be a somebody to everyone else. It sort of worked. But I was essentially just pretending, and I was lonely and confused. Later on in life, I did substitute teaching at a number of high schools. Then I got a full-time position teaching at a middle school. Those years were equally difficult. It wasn't until I was about 65 years old, when I read a book by Eckhart Tolle, that I realized that I was not my thinking mind. That was a revelation for me. After that my life began to steadily improve, until, some years later, I began to cruise through life. Things seem to make sense, and life became much more enjoyable. It dawned on me that teenagers could also benefit immensely if they could see that their problems where caused, or at least made worse, by the constant chatter of thoughts in their minds. And if they could learn to stop thinking for just a few seconds, they would have access to their own inner wisdom.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Trisha Dawn for Readers' Favorite

Jerry Schaefer's Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems is an educational book that offers brilliant ideas to help young adults experiencing struggles in their lives. Some young adults tend to think way more than necessary about situations that have happened already, such as troubling conversations they had in the past. Some also love to think about things that have not even happened yet. They have a habit of dwelling in the past or the future more than they should, which creates struggles that weren’t even there in the first place. However, beyond this struggle, there’s this hidden part inside you, and that is your true identity. Your true identity is something beyond suffering. You are unaware of this because of the constant thoughts that run in your head. Read this encouraging book and learn how to uncover that hidden part of you that could positively change your teen years!

Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems is inspiring and well-written. The situations mentioned were relatable, and this made me wish I had read this book when I was still in my teenage years. It would have truly helped with several of my struggles from those younger years. The ideas presented here were easy to understand and helped me to gain a different view of life. Jerry Schaefer has written something enlightening, and the meaningful but straightforward illustrations were delightful and helped get the message across. Such thoughtful pictures made reading more enjoyable for me. This was truly an insightful read. Great work!

Asher Syed

Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems by Jerry Schaefer is a short guide for teen readers with the intent to rein in the ancillary elements that obscure perception, outlook, and true self in order to reframe situations in manageable moments. Broken down into sixteen distinct and interconnecting chapters, Schaefer covers topics such as managing expectations, the evolution of wisdom and disconnecting from thought when it becomes stressful, to ego and cliques, body dysmorphia and social media pitfalls, through to bullying, embracing oneself, health and rebooting, among many other areas of interest. The book is assembled in a straightforward manner and complemented by simple illustrations.

As a parent to a teenager, Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems fell into my lap at just the right time. Teen angst has been heightened by isolation and the past year and a half have thrust all households into new territory we would have not considered possible just weeks before. Jerry Schaefer offers the non-self-help, self-help book in an inclusive and practical way. Although this has been written for consumption by the teenager, I found it to be a useful reminder of issues that have been long out of my sphere and to open my eyes to others that are relevant to teens of today. My daughter found quite a bit of it to be useful, particularly some of the guided internal dialogue and the suggestions to step back and just 'be', but because teenagers are going to teenage, she also found areas like the example dialogue on a section called The Party Scene an excuse to induce a dramatic eye roll. Overall, this is a good little book to have on hand and anyone who has a teenager in the house knows that we need all the advice we can get.

Marta Tandori

A book of enlightenment written for a teenage audience aptly sums up Jerry Schaefer’s thought-provoking Cruising Through the Teens: Easier than it Seems. If it seems somewhat strange that a man of the author’s vintage would be writing a non-fiction book for teens, it most certainly is. However, Schaefer is in an enviable position as both a former teacher and someone who has experienced life’s joys and losses to know of what he speaks. He characterizes humans as having an “inside self” – which is who we truly are – and a vastly different “outside self” – the one we project to everyone around us. How we reach our inner self and what happens when we do form the backbone of Cruising Through the Teens. Schaefer’s narrative is simple and his voice tinged with authenticity as he discusses a teenager’s expectations of their parents, what teenagers think adults expect of them, and more importantly, what teenagers should expect of themselves.

The author characterizes life as a series of conveyer belt stops from babyhood to teenager and by the time life’s conveyer belt drops a teenager off at the high school station, he or she has been transformed into an adaptive teenager who has developed a story based on beliefs, values, morals and emotional makeup reflected by family and society. He discusses the hype that comes from commercials trying to push products so that teens can reach idealized perfection – completely unattainable to most – the “in” crowds, group dynamics, and being left out, as well as the social media trap and rising above bullying/cyberbullying. Gabriel Berron’s illustrations are full of energy and leap off the page.

Cruising Through the Teens is a beginner’s journey toward awareness. The author does a terrific job shedding some light on the difficult teen years without preaching or speaking down to his audience. He’s a man who’s been enlightened by life and wants to share his kernels of wisdom with teenagers at a difficult and complicated junction in their young lives so they can begin to live their lives more fully and experience the joy of living each day in the moment. Very few people – even teenagers – can argue with that.

Daniel D Staats

Jerry Schaefer lives in the here and now. He does not waste time thinking about the past nor the future. In Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems, Schaefer shares his life philosophy with the reader. He wants teens to learn how to live in the moment and understand mindfulness. Schaefer believes in the power of meditation and quieting his inner soul. The power of being present and attentive to the here and now is astounding. Schaefer teaches readers how to stop thinking and reacting so they can respond without anger or judgment. Gerald gives the roadmap to an awakened life that is full of peace and joy. Living in the present leads to total relaxation.

Jerry Schaefer authored Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems after reading a book on mindfulness. He explains the philosophy of living now. Building on the fact that most people spend too much energy thinking about the past and future, Schaefer teaches one how to be quiet and focused on the immediate. When one slows their mind down and takes the time to smell the roses, they start to realize that attending to the present is the way to live. Schaefer writes in a homey, easy-to-understand style that keeps the reader’s attention. He breaks the sometimes-tricky subject of mindfulness into something simple to understand. If the reader learns how to slow their overthinking down, they will also learn to stop being judgmental.

Tammy Ruggles

Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems, which was written by Jerry Schaefer and illustrated by Gabriel Berron, is a concise self-help guide for teens to look inward and learn to quiet their sometimes chaotic psyches, which the author refers to as "soothing the waves crashing over the rocks." Schaefer offers much-needed help to today's teenagers, leading them to more significant and more meaningful self-awareness. The advice is palatable and not preachy, with a style that shouldn't be off-putting to adolescents. The thrust of the book is that the answers teens seek lie inside, but often the chatter of social media, technology, and rushed bombardment of other stimuli can deafen their inner voice. They need me-time, alone-time, a chance to recharge and think about who they are and what they want.

Schaefer has written the perfect book for teenagers searching for inner understanding or a way to know themselves. Once that is underway, it's "cruise control." Cruise control doesn't mean happy sailing at all times. Teens can and will experience ups and downs, but the tips in this book can better equip them to deal with these as they arise. As a former social worker who has worked with teen populations, I appreciate the author's examples, explaining what interior monologue is and how teens can self-talk their way into more positive experiences and results. I liked the chapters on expectations, those of parents and teens, and how they can create clashes and disorder. The discussions on normalcy, perfection, being present, ego, bullying, judging, etc., are what teenagers need to hear because so many seem directionless and in turmoil. It's amazing how much wisdom and advice is packed into this little book, using an easy, approachable style readers can relate to. Even though the author says his book isn't for everyone, I believe Cruising through the Teens, Easier Than It Seems by Jerry Schaefer should be in the hands of every teenager today.