AIM... A Letter To My Teenage Son:
Wow! You are growing up fast! Wasn’t it just yesterday you were watching Blue’s Clues and playing with Thomas the Train? So many things seem to have changed in your life, and my life, in such a short time since you turned 13.
You know, being a teenager is hard, but being the mom of a teenager is hard too. As you continue to grow and mature into a young man, here are a few things I want to make sure you know:
1. I love you; plain and simple. When you are happy, I love you. When you are sad, I love you. When you are mad at me, I love you. When you make mistakes, I still love you. I will celebrate all your victories, big and small, and love you always.
2. Be yourself. Learn to love who God created you to be. You are unique and different. There’s no one else in the world like you. When everyone wants to look the same and do the same things, do what YOU want to do and wear what YOU want to wear. Kids may tease or make fun of you – it’s just because they are jealous of your self-confidence and it’s the only way they know how to cover up their insecurities. Do your best to ignore them. They aren’t worth your time and energy.
3. Do your best. Always. No matter what you do in life, make sure you always give it your best effort. Whether you are taking a test in school, playing music for a concert, trying out for a sport, mowing the grass, cleaning your room, or babysitting your little sister – you want to be sure you’ve given everything your best shot and can feel good about the outcome or end result, whatever it may be. No one likes receiving a bad grade or having to re-do a chore or job. However, if it was performed with your best effort, then you’ll have no regrets. If the results aren’t as you expected, evaluate your effort and try harder next time.
4. Be a good friend. Everyone needs at least one good friend they can count on. Be sure to listen when your friend needs to talk. Stick up for him when the world attacks. Lift him up when the chips are down. Have a high five and fist bump ready when he’s successful. Be supportive an encouraging when he’s scared. Be trustworthy and learn to keep his secrets. Be loyal and stand by him through the good and the bad times. Have fun together. Laugh until your stomach hurts. Be buds for life.
5. Respect girls/women. You are just starting to recognize the external beauty of young women. As you mature, you’ll realize that external beauty is a bonus – the real beauty of a woman comes from her heart and her character. Treat girls with kindness. Be polite. Open doors for them. Offer your seat so a woman can sit down. Be a hero and a knight in shining armor. Be a good listener. Buy flowers, just because. Laugh together. Treat her like a princess. Smile. Be kind to her mother and father. Tell her she’s beautiful. Be faithful. Be a gentleman at all times.
6. Be a young man of excellent character. Make wise choices. Be honest and trustworthy. Never compromise your personal standards. Establish boundaries. Have integrity. Stand by your good morals and values. Always remember it’s important to do the right thing when everyone is watching you, but it’s more important to do the right things when no one is watching you.
7. The love of money is the root of all evil. What I mean is, it’s ok to work hard and make a good living and to save some money for a rainy day. However, money doesn’t buy happiness; it simply gives you opportunities for more choices. Your attitude about money can make or break you. Don’t be greedy. Be responsible with your money. Save some, spend some, give some away. God gave you the ability to earn your money, respect Him and give 10% back to God. He will always provide for your needs as long as you are responsible. If you can bless others, be a blessing. Make wise choices about how you spend your money. Just because somebody has brand new things, doesn’t mean you need to have the same brand new things too. They may be in debt up to their eyeballs. Be smart. Buy what you need, when you need it and a little frivolity now and then is ok. Having lots of money and things doesn’t make you a good person or a better person. Period.
8. Just say no to drugs and alcohol. Seriously. All it takes is one time and you could be dead. Get high on having fun in life. Don’t think a medicine is going to make you feel good about yourself or what’s going on in your world. Learn to have fun without those outside influences. You’ll be safe. You’ll be responsible. You’ll be thankful because you will see what drugs and alcohol will do to the kids around you and it’s scary, sad and will negatively affect you for the rest of your life. Make smart choices.
9. Sex is beautiful….when you are with your wife. God created man and woman to have children and grow the world. He wanted sex to be a symbol of love between a husband and wife who are committed to each other for life. Unfortunately, our world has taken this beautiful connection and ruined it with all sorts of perverse media outlets and empty promises of satisfaction outside of the safety of marriage. I can only hope and pray you will shield your eyes and ears from the negative sensations that will tempt you in school, work and life. My prayer is for you to commit to a pure heart, mind and body that you can gift to your wife on your wedding day. I promise, it will be truly beautiful for you both.
10. Above all else, God loves you. All these things I’ve told you are ways you can grow up to be a mature, young man. However, life is full of difficult situations and temptations. Should you trip up, make a poor choice or fall short of your ideals – God will still love you. He created you, designed you for a purpose and already knows what you are or aren’t going to do. And yet – He still loves you. Nothing is greater than God’s love and His promise of heaven and eternal life. So remember, you are human, you will make mistakes in life; but God will be waiting with open arms to hug you, welcome you back, give you peace and love you no matter what…forever.
FIRE! Teen years are trying years. Do you know a teenager? Make a date to spend time with him or her over ice cream this summer and talk. Ask questions. Listen to his responses. Affirm her dreams and aspirations. Be intentional about connecting. You will be an incredible blessing.