Sixteen years ago next month after almost 16 hours of labor, I cradled my little bundle of joy in my arms and to me she was perfect. I remember thinking as we left the hospital…”they can’t let me take this baby home. I don’t know what to do with her”! That feeling didn’t last long and we’ve done just fine since then, but I still have moments when I think…I don’t know what to do with her. Teenagers! I sent her off to school a few days ago to her sophomore year in high school and I can’t help but see her as the same little girl on her first day of kindergarten.
Raising a teenager in today’s world is scary. We teach them right from wrong knowing all the while they’re going to make mistakes…that’s how they learn. You have to trust them, but at the same time keep a watchful eye on them in case you need to gently guide them in another direction. Sometimes you have to drag them kicking and screaming to put them on the right path!
I haven’t encountered any serious problems with her so far, but she’s strong willed and stubborn just like me. My mom got her wish! I have a daughter just like me.
This is for her….
First and foremost I want you to know I love you more than life itself and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Having said that, there are certain things I won’t be able to do for you. I’ve taught you right from wrong. You’ll have to make decisions in life and please remember, you’re free to choose, but you won’t be free from the consequences of those choices. Choose wisely.
Establish moral boundaries and never compromise them for anyone or anything. Not for your friends, your spouse, your job, for money or pleasure. You determine your self respect and worth. People will respect you more if you’re true and not fake.
It’s okay to have a different opinion than others…including me. Listen and respect the views of others. You don’t have to make them the enemy because you don’t agree. You can disagree and still be respectful because I’ve taught you there’s value in a differing opinion.
Don’t forget to live in the moment. It’s okay to plan ahead, but don’t be so busy wishing your life away that you forget to live for today.
It’s okay to walk away. From friendships that aren’t good for you. From people who want you to make choices that go against your values. Walk away from bad influences and walk towards your family and God.
Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone. Don’t seek approval from everyone. Love yourself.
Some people will say all the right things and not mean a single one of them. Watch what they do not what they say.
You know how you felt about that boy you liked last year and he didn’t like you in the same way? I hate to tell you this, but that’s gonna happen quite a few more times. You’re going to to break a few hearts yourself. Remember how you felt and be kind when the time comes to deal with it.
Be grateful for what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have. Set goals and work towards them. The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want it you have to work for it!
Life isn’t always about you. You aren’t better than anyone, but you should strive to be the best you that you can be.
Always lend a helping hand or help someone in need. You never know when it could be you that needs someone’s help.
Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat.
Finish what you start, even when you don’t feel like it.
Anyone who will accept you for exactly who you are, are the best friends you will ever have.
Never apologize for saying no. You’re allowed to say it.
Never drink and drive. If you do choose to drink, call me to come get you. We’ll talk about it later.
It’s okay to take pride in your appearance and want to look pretty. Just remember that true beauty comes from being kind and thoughtful and compassionate. If you’re ugly on the inside, you’re ugly. Period.
Don’t judge people, but know that people will judge you.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Someone will always be prettier, more talented, etc….life isn’t a competition. Be yourself. There’s no one else in the world like you!
Speak up for yourself and stand your ground if you aren’t being treated fairly.
Don’t lose yourself in a guy. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to please them. You are enough. There are lots of boys out there who will like all the quirky little things about you. It’s okay to wait for one of them.
Listen to the little voice inside you. It’s never wrong.
Be careful what you post on social media. The Internet is forever.
Read your Bible. It has all the answers.
You will make mistakes. Forgive yourself when you do.
You can talk to me about anything. There’s nothing you can do that will make me not love you.I may not always agree with your decisions, but I’ve always got your back. I will always be here for you no matter what. I love you.