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You’re getting older now, and it’s amazing how fast the years have gone by. It seems just like yesterday that I was cradling you in my arms in your premie sized green Easter dress. Now you’re 16 years old, and the future lies ahead of you. So many possibilities are out there for you to reach and conquer. Before I know it, you will be on your own and starting your own family. (Let’s just hope that last part doesn’t come too soon)
As you ready yourself for the world, I wanted to share some advice that I wish I had gotten as a kid. You know me as mom, the funny, smart ass parent that isn’t afraid to twerk in front of your friends. (Yep, you’re welcome for that), but long time before that I was the goody two shoes that just wanted to be the best at everything. You see, I had big plans, did everything I was supposed to, and had success within my sites. It never occurred to me that life wasn’t going to go to my plan.
Over the years I got a lot of good advice like “be a good leader” or “strive for academic excellence” and that took me pretty far. During my high school years, I was a member of National Honor Society, captain of the Junior Varsity Cheerleaders, and even president of my Girl Scout troop (yep, there goes my bad girl image out the window). All of those things brought me a lot of joy, friendships, and experiences that have led up to who I am today. It’s not something that I would change a bit, even the times that were hard and where I would doubt myself.
All of those things allowed me to develop the skills to become a successful adult. It’s good advice, and I hope that you follow in my footsteps and are blessed with a lifelong love of learning. It’s truly a gift that no one can ever take away from you. It will leave you with childlike curiosity your whole life, and just think when you have kids that childishness will lead to your own embarrassing parenting moments. (Trust me it makes parenting much more fun when you can be silly with your kids)
You’ve already made me so proud. Even though our family’s educational path is a bit different, you’ve taken charge of your education and have never made me have to force you to learn. It’s been truly a blessing to see you dive into your books and conquer your fears (yes, I know how much you hate math, but you need it). I’ve had the pleasure to see what an amazing writer you have become and would be lying if I said it wouldn’t warm my heart just a little bit if you learned to embrace your gift of words. Trust me, at your age I was good at writing but loved it as about as much as a root canal. Give it time, you might change your mind.
Through my life, I’ve been given so much advice on what makes someone successful or what success looks like. While a lot of it has been great advice, there is one thing I wish someone had told me a long time ago. There were so many years that I did what I was supposed to. My 4.0 GPA, my extracirrucular activites, my sports, they were all done because I was told I was supposed to. It was done because I wanted to be the best, the most successful, but I never really got to the point that I understand the best of what. During high school, I was going through the motions, but didn’t know where those actions were supposed to take me.
There was one key thing that was missing from all my hard work, and that was my heart. It’s so important to take the steps to study hard, to give back to your community, and to be a leader, but all of that isn’t worth it if you don’t put your heart into it.
For me, I had no idea who I was. There were so many years spent trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, that I had no clue who I was and what I wanted. Granted, I was a child and it’s ok to be a little lost at that age, but you owe it to yourself to learn yourself. Get to know where your heart is.
It’s winter break, and this is a time of quiet and reflection in our family. Take this time, sweet daughter, to find you. Find your heart, find your passions in life, find your inspirations. You are already amazingly brilliant, funny, and creative. Now take the time to go out in the world and find what makes your heart soar. Find where you want to give back to the community because your heart tells you it’s right not because you should. Find studies that you just can’t put down. Find people that fill your need for curiosity. Find your heart.
If you spend your life studying, being a leader, and add your heart to it anything is possible. Nothing can stand in your way because your heart will always lead you to where you need to be. You will always find a way to make your dreams happen. This is the secret to life, and something I hope you always hold dear as you go out on your own.
National Honor Society helped me set my life on the right path, and now they are offering parents help to help do their kids the same thing. Check out their parenting guide, and write your own letter to your child about what you would add to their advice check list to get your child ready for their future with the Parent’s College Checklist.
Make sure to also join us for a National Honor Society #honoryourfuturenow Twitter Party 12/9 at 2 PM ET! You can sign up here http://vite.io/
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