(This post was originally published on August 24, 2015. The girl who was starting her freshman year of high school is now entering her senior year of college! Though some time has passed, this advice still holds true.)
Today our older daughter starts high school. These are the years you remember throughout adulthood, a time to make memories and friends and earn a grade point average that actually counts toward college acceptance.
I want her to be grounded in who she is, in who she surrounds herself with, and, most of all, in her walk with God. So many spiritual decisions that could affect the rest of her life begin here.
With that in mind, on her first day of high school, here are eight pieces of advice I’d like to share with her.
1. Always remember that God loves you. Whatever crosses your path each day has been foreordained by Him. His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) You can do all things through His strength. (Philippians 4:13)
2. Recognize that you are made in His image, wonderfully put together. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:14, 17) Your physical traits, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses were all designed by God to be used in His plan for your life and to bring Him glory.
3. Be friendly to everyone. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:….” (Proverbs 18:24) That 7th grader you barely know? Say “hello” when you pass her in the hall. The boy you’re standing in front of in the lunch line? Smile at him. The new girl in your grade? See if she needs help finding a classroom. The teacher who seems to be having a hard day? Say something kind.
4. Be true to yourself. Don’t change who you are to fit into a crowd or please a friend. Be willing to stand alone, if necessary. Even at a Christian school, there will be peer pressure to do wrong. Have the courage to choose to do what’s right.
5. Use your time wisely. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Apply yourself to your classes and learn all you can. Outside of the classroom, explore your interests and put your time into activities you enjoy. Choose extra-curricular activities that are fun and that introduce you to new people.
6. Stretch yourself. Try something you think is just outside of your comfort zone.
7. Stay above the drama. Don’t allow yourself to get dragged into friends’ and classmates’ disagreements.
8. Make fun memories. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) With your family, your friends, and your classmates enjoy this season and remember these stories that you’ll be telling your kids in 20 years!
What other advice do you have for a new high schooler?