Interesting. Wait. Let me back up. Before Christmas, I saw something on Pinterest that sparked my interest. (Pinterest always sparkes my interest by-the-way!) It was titled: “30 things my kids should know about me” from another blog http://www.babymakingmachine.com/2012/11/30-things-my-kids-should-know-about-me.html I knew that I had to do it. I’ve been wanting reasons to sit-write-think-read-learn. It was my goal to write every day for the whole month of January, but being a mom/wife/student and the secretary/assistant manager of the Parker4…. well, I get to it when I can. I try to catch up on weekends. Ok, so on day #4, the topic was “10 things you would tell your 16 year old self, if you could.” The wheels were spinning–not only because I am so young (I was 16, what like, 5 years ago?) but because I have a young man in my house that is going to be 16 very soon. I thought about it very carefully for a day or two before locking in my final decisions. Here is what I came up with:
1. Respect and listen to your parents. They know so much more than you think they do. Most of the “blah blah blah” they’re telling you-is in fact important, useful and helpful information.
2. Take time to listen to the stories that your grandparents tell. Write it down. Remember it. Cherish it. They are your living history.
3. Do good in school. It may boring and pointless and stupid. Those feelings will go away once you’re a mature adult. We all want to go back to school—but only to learn. Not to deal with the HS drama.
4. Be yourself. Don’t try to be like society, or other people. It’s hard to let true colors show sometimes. Don’t pretend that you are anyone but who God made you. You.
5. Be kind to your parents. They are juggling more things than you realize (and someday you will). They won’t be this young forever. Thank them. Hug them. Show them that you love them.
6. Never insult someone because they are less attractive, overweight or unintelligent, etc. The world needs so much more kindness. Besides, what you say about “Sally” says more about you than it does about “Sally.”
7. High school is only a tiny fraction of your life. Don’t put too much time and effort into trying to impress people. Chances are, you won’t care about what they think of you anyway.
8. Think about the choices you are making. Some will impact your future. Some won’t. They all have consequences. Some good. Some bad. Choose wisely.
9. You won’t be 16 forever. Start living healthy habits. Eat right. Sleep more. Exercise. Be responsible. Be reliable. Be trustworthy. Do your homework. Say no to things that you know you should. More water, less pop. More veggies, less junk. Be active. Shut the TV off-go run. Be patient. Be kind. Smile. Avoid drama. Surround yourself with positive people. Love your life.
10. Enjoy being young. Be silly. Laugh a LOT. Teenagers rush into adulthood too fast. All that responsibility will come with time. Enjoy the “care-free” years. Go to football games. Show team spirit. Dress the same as your best friend. Try something new. Think about your future. You will be a grown-up–someday. For now, be 16. Be excited. Be young. Make friends. Do good in school. Really truly strive to enjoy being 16. Time will go fast and you’ll only have memories of being sixteen. Make them good.
Not bad huh? I was pretty proud of myself. Not to “preachy-preachy” but got to the important stuff. Fact: Teenage years were some of the best and the worst times of our lives. So much going on and our brains certainly couldn’t handle it all. School. Homework. Teachers. Parents. Friends. 3-way calling. Writing notes. Relaxing. Chores. Over-sleeping. How did we manage to get it all done in a day!?!
When I finished typing these up, I printed two of them off, and put them in a hand-written letter that I wrote to my parents—thanking them for all that they’ve done raising me. I don’t think children will realize how amazing their parents are—until they are raising teenagers of their own. Let’s be honest–teenagers are essentially giant toddlers. I love ‘em, but they are not the easiest creatures on the planet to understand. It’s a wonderful, challenging, fun, testing, moody, learning, trying, exciting and hopeful time as parents. I pray for my kids, their friends, the school and the choices that they’re making. We can’t be there every step of the way—but we have to hope that they will do the right thing, say good things, and make us proud.
Here’s to all the 16 year olds: It’s not forever. It is temporary. You are good enough. Someday you will look back and laugh. Don’t take life so seriously. Be happy. Be nice. Spread kindness. Enjoy your mid-teens