Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Things I Want Them To Know

I have four young people in my life who in the next week or so will be starting either high school or middle school. Some of them are scared and will admit it, others are scared and won’t. Some of them have shared little bits and pieces of their life with me, asking my advice or opinion. There is so much I want to tell them, so much I want them to remember these next few years. (Most of this letter was taken from this, which I wrote several months ago.)

Dear Soon-to-be Middle/High-Schooler,

I know you may be scared and nervous about starting this school year; I just want you to know that’s entirely ok. The next few years are going to be amazing ones for you. You’ll figure out who you are, what you love to do and that its ok to be different from everyone else. I wish I could protect each and every one of you from the unknown, the truth is I can’t, no one can. There are some things that you just have to figure out in your own unique way. There are some things though that I can share that may make the journey easier.

ALWAYS be true to yourself. Along the way there are going to be some people who think that they know what’s best for you. What you have to figure out is what YOU think is best for you. Right now you have so many avenues and opportunities open to you. Read, dream, and explore them all. You will discover so many things about yourself and your beliefs when you learn for yourself instead of just believing what other people tell you. Always question. Never stop questioning. Is only through that process do you find the right answers. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t have your best interests at heart. Fight for what you believe in. Never cave to the demands of others. Sometimes you may stand alone, but that’s ok; knowing that you did what you believe to be right is better than having people respect you for something you don’t believe in. Trust your heart, it’s a good one.

You’re going to make a lot of mistakes and bad decisions along the way. I could tell you not to do them, but we both know you’re hard headed and stubborn enough that you would do them anyway. That’s ok, in fact as you get older that stubbornness will serve you well. Its what teaches you some of the best lessons you could ever learn. Instead of getting frustrated with those mistakes and bad decisions -- embrace them. Learn from them. Own them. Don’t let them defeat you. They’re just a learning experience that’s all. They won’t define you unless you let them. You have to make those mistakes and bad decisions to get to where you’re going and trust me; it’s a great place to be.

Don’t be in such a hurry to be an adult. Time will take care of that sooner than you can even know. Sure fancy phones and gadgets are fun, but someday you may find yourself as a late-20 something trying to recapture these exact moments in your life. Stop rolling your eyes! I’m serious; just trust me on this one ok? Turn off your cell phone, stop texting and go play kick the can in the alley, have a slumber party with your friends, or toss the football around in the backyard. Just enjoy being a kid sometimes now while you still can.

The most important thing I can tell you is that its all going to be ok. These next several years are going to throw you all over the place – that’s just how life is. There will be people and situations that break your heart. There will be days you don’t want to get out of bed. There will be times that you are on top of the world and feel like you can conquer anything. There will be times that you are going to be scared out of your mind. . Hang in there when things get tough, celebrate when things are right. Life is perfectly imperfect. Those times when you think your life is over, its not. While the end result of whatever situation you are experiencing may not be what you want, I promise you in the end, you’re always going to be ok.

Enjoy the next several years. I know you can’t comprehend it now, but they are going to go by faster than you think. Take too many pictures, stay out too late, push the boundaries. Take the less travelled road. Be in the moment. Go with your gut. Don’t be deterred by people’s thoughts and opinions. Its ok to cry, but its better to laugh, do both at the same time. Fall hard but always get back up. Smile, be polite but don’t let people take advantage of you. Be afraid but don’t let fear stop you. Be aware of all the beauty around you. Always, always remember that things will be ok.

Love,
Mandy

P.S. Go easy on your parents, they’re going to make some mistakes just like you.

Do you have any young people in your life starting a new chapter? What would you tell them?

16 comments:

Pam said...

Nicely done. I think I'll save this for when my kids start junior high or high school.

jnyfritz said...

i would say everything you just said and emphasize the 'go easy on your parents...' Great Job Mandy!!

Kyla Roma said...

This is so sweet- I would...man....

I would say mostly, have fun. Don't take things seriously and the bumps and bruises will fade a lot faster. Don't beat yourself up, and know that the girls who are the meanest are the most fearful, not the coolest.

MeLaNiE said...

Great post! I would say don't be in a hurry to grow up & be spontaneous. Life is too short!

Little Fish said...

Wow! I had so many things to say and then I got to the end and wasa just overwhelmed with awesomeness. Well done!

chickbug said...

we were totally on the same wave length today with our advice to youth and new beginnings. =)

Bayjb said...

Wow that is such a sweet and insightful response. You are so kind :) Je t'adore :)

LBluca77 said...

As scary as those years were, it would be nice to be that young again.

But very well said.

Auburn Kat said...

Great post!

I think I would tell them that it takes a stronger person to remember who they are and to not give in to temptations than a weak person.

Maris said...

Aw this totally brings me back to all my high school screw ups! LOL. Very nicely written - you're always so genuine.

Frank said...

Ah I wish I had this advice before I went into high school...

amanda said...

i wish i had you around to write me a letter. hmpf!

i love the part about always being true to yourself. i think sometimes people forget this. and get lost in the mayhem. especially in middle school and high school. they are out to be popular and fit in. and their mind leaves who they are inside.

LiLu said...

Man, I wish someone had impressed that "P.S." into my brain. I've been trying to make up my teenage years to my parents since I hit 20... :-) Beautiful post!

a!k0 said...

nicely written, i wish i could remember that when i was younger, altho i dont feel so very old (and people keep reminding me that i am getting there) i miss my teenage-ish years...the best :)

and i still am trying to make up the years ive lost...:D ill have to make something like this when i have kids (if, im effin scared of that idea, eeekkk)

Vanessa said...

What a beautiful letter to someone starting high school. I'm saving this and if you don't mind, passing it along. Well done, well done.

Andy said...

Hmm I'm starting a new chapter, so if anyone (hmm *cough* Mandy *cough*) would do the college version, that'd be nice :)