I remember the outfit I chose for my first day of high school. It’s downright laughable now, but back in the day that floral print shirt paired with acid-washed daisy dukes and hiking boots was haute. Seriously.
Tomorrow morning, I will officially become the mother of two high school girls: one senior and one freshman. When I picked the freshman up from orientation this afternoon she practically floated into the car. I remember that. I remember the bubbly feeling of taking those first steps toward independence. I remember being so sure that I knew who I was. Where I was going. How effortlessly I would get There.
Confession: I might have been off, a little.
Lessons learned are at the forefront of my mind as I fill out school paperwork this week. And because I’ve learned the value of speaking that which might seem obvious, today I’m sharing five things that I want my freshman to remember.
1. You matter. Your worth can’t be measured by the grades you earn, the clothes you wear, or the boys who show interest in you (trust me on that one). You are a child of God. He has a plan for your life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Be faithful and trust in His timing. Allow Him to bring you to completion. Find your worth in Him alone.
2. Other people matter, too. There will be days when your hair won’t cooperate and your favorite jeans are dirty and you miss the bus. When those days come I want you to remember that someone, somewhere lost every last strand of her hair in a battle for her life. Someone doesn’t have a pair of shoes that fit, much less a pair of fashion jeans. Someone, somewhere doesn’t have the opportunity to ride a bus or even attend a safe school. Count your blessings, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. And on those days, do something kind for someone else. Humbly serving others will make you feel richly blessed.
3. Be who you are. There is a time and a place for uniformity, but high school isn’t that place. Don’t ever compromise your values–what you know to be true–in order to more closely resemble the populace; the populace is overrated. Dr. Suess was right on the mark when he said,
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
4. Do hard things. Good things don’t come to those who just wait. Good things come to those who show up. Those who sweat. Those who sacrifice. Don’t choose the path of least resistance. God doesn’t promise us a life of ease, but those hard times–those hard things–are what grow us. He promises,
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
5. You’re not there yet. Some people will tell you that the four years you spend in high school will be the best of your whole life. Don’t buy into it. The four years you spend in high school will be fun and adventurous and memorable. You’ll take steps towards adulthood and you’ll discover things you might never have known about yourself. Here’s the thing, though: if you peak in high school, you’ve got a lifetime of downhill in front of you. How lousy would that be? Have fun but do so with the knowledge that the world is waiting for you to graduate–to see what you will do with your one wild and precious life. I, for one, am certain that high school is but a springboard. I cannot wait to see where you go from there.