This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.
What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self. Oh my. I wish I could visit her. Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.
I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two. 1. Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool. That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends. People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with. Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either. The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them. Instead find a hobby. Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you. That is what is cool.
2. Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does. And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong. But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. Work on that instead. How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.
3. Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo. In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem. Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements. You’ll feel jealousy. You’ll feel disappointment. And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you: to get married and have children. But you are not in a competition with anyone. This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest. Go at your own pace. Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing. Because, you know what? A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.
4. And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys. I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical. Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving. See those nerdy, geeky guys? The ones you’ve rejected? The ones you think aren’t “cool”? Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight. Find yourself a Jesus follower too. Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you. The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run. Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart. This will save you much heartbreak.
5. You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown. But know this….there is a great big world out there. Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able. There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see. Go do it. Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown. You can rise above your circumstances. You can do all things with Christ.
6. But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life. Spend time with your parents. This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday. Write down your grandmother’s stories. Write down your parents’ stories. Write down your own stories. I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will. Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister. Get to know them. They are the ones who love you the most. They are the ones who will help you when you need it. They are who will support you in your dreams. Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.
7. Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself. You know, like your laundry! And make your own bed! Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that. You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon. Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness. Learn how to clean house. Learn how to cook good food. Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around. Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities. Learn from your elders and treat them right. They know much more than you.
8. Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever. It will happen….your body will age. Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often. So take care of your body while you still can and smile! You only get one body, and it needs to last. Treat it right. Only put good things into it. Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy. Find a balance, strive to be healthy.
9. It’s always good to have a nest egg. Save money. But don’t be greedy. Again, find a balance. No, that’s the world talking. On second thought, be more generous. You’re too stingy as it is. If you see someone in need, help them. You’ll reap what you sow. It’s better to give than receive. You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need. And it’s just money anyway.
10. There will be hard times in your life. At the time, you will think they are terrible times. But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore. Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world. Don’t be self-centered. Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you. It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain, love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words. Put others before yourself. You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions. For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.
It’s a sweet life you live, Angel. You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see. Enjoy it. It’s much too short not to.