It’s crazy to realize that my “baby” is 17!! That’s a lot of years that she’s lived in our house…and a lot of chances we as parents have had to try to share advice and wisdom.
I don’t know how much of it has stuck. We’re all still learning and growing together around here. But today I thought I’d give it another shot with this list of 17 things I want her to know.
1. You’ll never regret being kind.
At the end of the day, it’s usually not the number of times I was kind that I dwell on. No, it’s those moments when I lost my temper or snapped in anger or said something unkind that I wish I could do over.
2. Ground your life now in God’s Word and prayer.
Developing spiritual disciplines in this period of major life decisions is vital. Getting into the habit as a teenager will serve you well for a lifetime.
3. True beauty begins within.
You like makeup and hairstyle trends and that’s all fun and good. But always remember that real beauty shines through from a kind heart and thoughtful gestures and a love for others.
4. Stay true to yourself.
Don’t change who you are to impress a guy or to fit in with a particular group of girls. Find someone who shares that unusual hobby or enjoys the same genre of books. Be you.
5. Be thoughtful about what you post on social media.
People who know you in real life know your heart. Those who only read your online posts don’t.
6. Conversely, know that what someone posts on social media (or how you interpret it) may not be who they really are.
For better or worse, not everyone is a sum total of their tweets or Instastories.
7. Have truth-tellers in your life who will gently show you your mistakes.
This could be a best friend, a husband, a sibling, or a mentor. But have someone who loves you enough to help you grow into a better person, even when it hurts.
8. Be a lifelong learner.
Always be learning. Have a thirst to know more about God and His Word. Read non-fiction books. See the world from other perspectives than your own.
9. Don’t allow the news media or online influencers to dictate your beliefs.
Think for yourself. Base decisions on truth from Scripture. Don’t just fall for the latest political trends or blindly follow a currently popular teacher.
10. Give grace to others.
Parents, teachers, friends who are figuring out life alongside you – they’re all going to make mistakes, and they need the same grace you’ll want extended to yourself.
11. Make good memories.
Be present with your friends. Plan things to do together that don’t involve your phone. And even join in making memories with your family!
12. Look past a guy’s physical appearance to his character.
Yes, you want the physical attraction to be there, but it’s his character – loyalty, honesty, work ethic, sense of humor – that will make him someone you want to spend a lifetime with.
13. Listen to your body.
Are you sick? Do you need to drink more water? Have you not moved your body in three days? Have you been sleeping enough? Treat your body well ’cause it’s the only one you get.
14. Develop firm boundaries around your entertainment choices.
What types of books will you read and not read? How about the movies you’ll allow yourself to watch? Is there music you need to protect yourself from? Set Biblical guidelines today to guide you. Make decisions ahead of time to inform your choices in the moment.
15. Enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Never get over a beautiful sunset, a walk on the beach, or the taste of a perfectly ripe strawberry. No matter how much money you make or how many amazing experiences you have, always treasure the simple pleasures.
16. Remember that very few decisions are permanent.
Marriage, yes. But in many other areas, don’t get locked into one thing and never try something new. Want to live in the city? Try it for a year. You can always move back to the suburbs. Really don’t like the career you’re in? Develop a plan to try something new.
17. Leave it all on the field.
So that’s a sports metaphor, but basically I’m saying give it all you’ve got. Do your best in the classroom and on the court and at work. Love well. Put relationships first.
At seventeen, you have some wonderful, exciting, and challenging years ahead of you. You’ve got this!! So proud, thankful, and blessed to be your mom.