While searching for One-Eyed Willie’s Treasure, the Goonies hit all kinds of crazy obstacles: lethal traps, nasty gangsters, and bizarre riddles.

But they carried a powerful motto: “Goonies never say die!”

The Goonies emboldened millions of Generation X’ers with an attitude of resilience. So why is it that so many students today want to take Troy’s bucket whenever they get the chance?

Was it because their parents helicoptered every move they made and stressed over every ingredient of every piece of food they ever ate?

Maybe because their teachers became afraid to speak up for fear of being fired or even slapped with a lawsuit?

Or was it their TV’s shows, news, and social media started focusing on the 13 Reasons Why people aren’t listening instead of the 13 Reasons How they can overcome adversity (to read my 13 Reasons How Blog click here)?

This school year we must transform your students into the fearless Goonies of this generation.

And the pathway to get this done is as easy as a truffle shuffle, a booty trap, and a Baby Ruth…


Do your students have a truffle shuffle?

As an anti-bully expert, I’m not suggesting we encourage your kids to nickname their friends “Chunk,” or make them do a truffle shuffle, but we can encourage them to join clubs, teams, groups, and cliques that make them feel connected.

In our leadership summits and school culture workshops, I’ve heard students and educators complain about cliques. But what blew me away in my masters program at Texas State was when Dr. Garcia taught us something surprising about human development: cliques are developmentally appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with them! Obviously, we can’t allow them to become negative or mean, but their existence is 100% normal for students in middle school and high school.

How are you encouraging your students to find their clique? Their group? Their tribe? Their team? We are social animals, who thrive in relationships. Maybe the Goonies were so resilient and brave simply because they proudly labeled themselves “Goonies.”


Can your kids overcome booty traps?

Take your pick of what booty traps represent at your school: anxiety, depression, bullying, suicidal ideation, gangs, drugs. How many of your students tremble at the idea of those booty traps? Remember, Mikey and his crew never would have laid eyes on that majestic pirate ship if they hadn’t faced those booty traps.

We must encourage students to overcome these challenges. If you’re not sure where to start, watch THE GOONIES with your class, discuss ideas around resiliency, and download this free worksheet to help them process challenges in their life. It teaches ways to overcome obstacles, and explains the benefits that come from overcoming them.


What’s their Baby Ruth?

The Goonies wouldn’t have made it if they didn’t have Chunk and Sloth coming to their rescue. To think, when the two of them first met, Chunk was scared because Sloth was so…well…unique.

What pulled them together? What did they have in common? A love for Baby Ruth candy bars! A simple commonality brought two unlikely heroes together. It gave them a starting point to form a relationship.

Are your students unable to connect with kids who are different from them? Heck, how many of your Facebook friends are unable to make kind comments to each other when they disagree? It reminds me why my client Dr. Audra Ude of Fort Bend ISD taught me that “tolerance” is a weak word…  We should strive to “celebrate” our differences.

What would happen if we all found our Baby Ruth? How might your school change if we pointed students toward common ground? Our leadership summits have produced countless ideas on how to get this done.

Some of my favorites include:


Mix It Up Day

Speed Friending

Week of Kindness

Friend In a Jar

Unplug Day


To read detailed descriptions of these student-created activities download my free school culture book at www.teentruth.net/schoolculture and go to section 2, on building school activities.

If you’re on this email list, you care about students. We have similar hearts. You and I are Goonies, and Goonies never say die! Your students shouldn’t either.

Empower their voice and build resiliency by hosting our school assembly, or extend your guidance efforts on campus with our SEL curriculum. Both are proven to help students build healthy cliques, overcome their booty traps, and find the Baby Ruths of their life.

Honored to be in this fight with you.



President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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