I have a lot of parents who are regular readers and recently I have discovered that some of their kids are closet readers, too. This post is for them. If your kid isn't a reader here or your not sure how to communicate this to them I give you permission claim this post as your own, write it out in a card or journal for them and give it to them. Hopefully, this will be a conversation starter and a lifeline to parents and teens because we all could use a little help from time to time.
I see you. I see you with your friends or alone, lost in moments of quiet thought, and I can't believe how fast you are growing up and changing from the sweet little kid who turned my world upside down into this mysterious young adult I hardly know. I see how you are becoming more independent, more confident in your own ideas and talents; I see you and I marvel at the person you are.
Each decision you make shapes who you are and who you're becoming. Not decisions like what you're having for lunch but big decisions like who you're hanging out with, what you do when you're with your friends and what habits you're picking up. Each step you take down the path that is your life changes you and stays with you; the decisions you make will either add to or take away from who you are. The people you let influence you will also add to your life or take pieces from you.
There are pieces of you that once you give away you can never get back; pieces that hold your self respect, dignity and your very heart. There are decisions that you'll be asked to make in the moment that will echo throughout your life and there are things that you'll be pressured to do that you can never undo.
That's not to say that life is without grace and redemption because there is always room for second (and third and fourth) chances but along with those chances is regret. Regret is a hefty burden to bear and even though the weight can decrease over time, the shadow of regret is always with you.
Being young is about taking chances but its also about learning. Sure you can learn from your own experiences but sometimes learning from the advice of those who know you best, love you best, is a better way to go. The independence in you will chafe at the idea of being told what to do but somewhere inside of you there is also the part of you that takes comfort in knowing that you don't have to do it all on your own. I know this because I still feel this.
I still get annoyed when my mom tries to give me her input or advice; I am a grown person and I can make my own decisions. But later, when the annoyance subsides, I am relieved to know that I am not alone in this life, that I don't have to guess my way through the tough patches. I don't always take the advice that's given but I always think about it at least, weigh the options and think about the consequences. That's all I'm trying to say to you; stop, listen and then decide.
Right now, in your life, you are trying to figure out who you are and where you are headed in your life. You are trying to sort out where your parents end and where you begin and you are shaping your own identity. In the midst of all this chaos and new independence there is this thing inside of you, this little piece of truth that you hear as you move through your life. That is who you are. That is the truth of the person you can become.
Before you are in the middle of tough situations or faced with peer pressure you already know who you are and what you feel is right for you. You already know the truth of who you want to be. You already know but sometimes the knowing and the doing are two very different things.
I want you to know that you are stronger, braver and smarter than you give yourself credit for. You are innately good and kind. You have everything inside of you that you will ever need to be the person, the magnificent, spectacular, world changer that you are meant to be. You don't have to sell yourself short, go with the crowd or play down your strengths. Just shine on.
Be true to who you are and live the life, the great big, wonderful life you were created to live. Hold the pieces of you close, guard them and only share them with those who are truly worthy of you. Allow the people who love you to speak into your life, listen to their wisdom before you make a decision. Above all know that grace and second chances are there for you, just as they have been there for all of us.
Everywhere you go you shout it
You don’t have to be shy about it, no
And you’ll never be alone
Come on now show your soul
~U2, Origin of the Species