My daughter and son have left for college, which means I am of course thinking about all the things I hope I’ve told them, things I pray they know, things like:
Figuring out who you are – who God created you to be – is a lifelong process. Spending time and energy and prayer on this is so worth it. Not taking the time to figure yourself out will leave you living a less fulfilling and purposeful life.
A sincere please, thank you, or I’m sorry can go a long, long way.
Save 10% of your money. Give away 10%. You won’t regret either.
Eat breakfast. (For the love.)
When you don’t know what to do, talk to God about it and talk to someone you trust about it.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is take a nap.
If you start to feel sick, drink lots of water.
Don’t do drugs. You know my stance on alcohol when it comes to the two of you. Cigarettes are ew.
Just because your parents got divorced doesn’t mean you will get divorced. Just because your parents are anything doesn’t mean you will automatically be whatever we are.
Don’t lie. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and follow through with what you say you will do. Be the kind of person people can count on.
‘No’ is a complete sentence.
Most important decisions do not need to be made right this minute. In fact, if possible, do not make a big decision when you’re in the middle of a crisis, or exhausted, or scared.
Be on time for things: classes, work, appointments. This honors other people.
Very few people like change. But change is one of the only absolutes in life. It will be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable isn’t always bad.
There are no wrong feelings. Feel all your feelings. But learn to express them in appropriate ways so as not to hurt yourself or those around you.
Friends matter. There are safe people and unsafe people. If someone makes you feel badly about yourself, lies to you, doesn’t keep your secrets, talks smack about the people you love, or takes more than gives, you have probably stumbled upon an unsafe person. You get to choose who you’re going to be friends with.
It’s normal for life to be both hard and amazing, sometimes all in the same day. (Sometimes all in the same hour.)
If my life is any indication, God loves to bring good things out of bad, light out of darkness, beauty out of pain. It helps a ton if you cooperate with him.
It’ll all eventually be okay. We know the end of the story: God and love and grace and light are going to win.
God loves you. All the time. No matter what. You can’t do anything to make God love you less or more. He just completely loves you.
(When all else fails, texting your mother is always a good, good idea.)
If you’d like more support with your parenting, check out Elisabeth’s e-book, Moving On as a Christian Single Mom.