In two short days, you will embark on a new, life-changing chapter that will mark your path into adulthood. It seems like yesterday I was spoon feeding you and writing down all your milestones in your baby book. And in a snap, we’re already here.
You are a high schooler.
As you enter high school, your dad and I have some last minute, but timeless advice for you. I hope you take these points to heart. Dad and I won’t always be there at every turn or place of challenge for you, but we can share some of our best advice as you enter this new stage–because we’ve been there too.
So as you enter high school here are 7 things I want you always to remember.
1. Be kind to yourself.
On day one as you walk through those doors, you will be faced with guys who are way more developed than you. Guys who could be Abercrombie models, with sports cars and girlfriends… yeah, I’m not kidding. This may be a little intimidating, but don’t let it hinder your confidence. Don’t compare yourself to others now or ever. Be patient and kind to yourself and know that God is growing you exactly the way he wants.
2. Don’t lose your quirkiness.
In our eyes, there’s no one who can equal who you are. You’re smart, a hard worker and your love for life keeps my heart happy. You have certain gifts, quirks, and uniquenesses that no one could match, and we love that about you! Please don’t change yourself just to impress others or gain more friends. Find your identity in Christ and fight the temptation to change who you are to please people. You are a beautiful soul–exactly the way you are. Never forget that.
3. Seek quality over quantity in friendships.
Even if you just have two close friends who dig you, that’s success. Having an entourage may work for some guys, but when it comes to real friendships, a few is superior to many. There’s nothing better than a couple of friends who know you well and have your back. Trust me. And, remember, friendships aren’t just about what you get out of them, it’s about you giving and having their backs too.
4. Be that guy.
Be the one who is respectful to the un-liked substitute teacher, friendly to the new student, inclusive to the kid alone in the cafeteria. Yes, be all that. Don’t try to be a hero and get noticed just be the one who won’t let unkindness happen. Love mercy and act justly. Remember the talk dad and I had with you not too long ago about being givers in this world, not takers? Yeah, this is one of those times. Please don’t overlook these situations because they are there, every day. Don’t assume those people are “okay” or don’t want company. Push your way through to make sure no one is left out.
5. Girls are great, but shouldn’t be your focus.
I really can’t stress this one enough. High school is a time to discover who you are, have a ton of fun, work out your awkwardness, laugh, and so on. Please don’t let a girl(s) stress you out. I have to confess… we can do that at times. I hope you have lots of girls — slash — friends, but seriously, now is not the time to get so focused on a girl. However, high school is a great time to learn how to treat young women with respect, honor, and purity–the way God intended. Don’t forget that.
6. Don’t wish this time away.
Right now you’re probably excited to start on this new journey, and this may be a foreign thought to you, but soon you’ll be in the throes of essays and midterm exams, and you’ll just want it all to be over. The stress will be more than you’ve experienced, I’m sorry to say. But, crazy enough, it will come to end so very quickly, and you will sit back like me, twenty-something years out, and see those were some of the best years of your life. So please enjoy each day that high school brings you – the good and the not-so-great – because each experience is shaping you more and more into the adult you are meant to be.
7. Don’t keep your struggles to yourself.
You are a guy, and naturally, you will tend to stay quiet about your inner struggles. Dad and I don’t want you to do this. You don’t have to tell us everything, but please, if you’re troubled, hurt, offended or struggling in any way, just come to us. These years can hold many fun and exciting times, but they also can be confusing and leave you feeling deeply hurt, too. Your heart isn’t always prepared for some of this, and that’s where we come in.
There are really no issues we can’t handle together.
So that’s it, Sam. There will be more dad and I will add as this chapter in your life unfolds. So with my heart bursting with joy and sadness altogether, I am sending you off. Dad and I love you immensely, never forget that.