Dear 13-Year-Old Girl,
At thirteen, you have just boarded the teen train that will take you through a whole lot of stops on your journey of growing up. There will be lots fun and friends and opportunities as you travel through these years. But the ride will also be full of pressures, expectations and people who can persuade you to become someone you never meant to be and push you down paths you never wanted to go down.
So, let me ask you one question.
Who are you going to be?
I’m not referring to all the various choices that will come to you in time- like if you will be an engineer or an athlete, a nurse or a musician. I’m not asking you about labels that define your activities, your interests, or even your dreams, but rather, I’m asking you to decide what kind of person you want to be, what values you want to choose that will create your character.
You see, your character is built by setting personal goals to live by, no matter who you’re with or what you are doing. Yes, you are young, but you hold more power than you know. Right now, you are in control of setting the rules for who you will become and the road you will follow.
So, what will you choose?
Are you going to be kind?
Are you going to be wise?
Are you going to be generous?
Are you going to be respectful?
Are you going to be loving?
Are you going to be inclusive?
Are you going to be forgiving?
Are you going to be honest?
Are you going to be trustworthy?
Are you going to be responsible?
Are you going to be thoughtful?
Are you going to be brave?
Are you going to be strong?
You see, you can decide these things now and it will make your teen years a whole lot easier. When you have answers to these questions, with each new challenge you face or difficult circumstance you find yourself in, you won’t have to worry about what to do, because you’ve already determined the direction you want to go.
When your friends trash-talk someone else, you stop them because you’ve already decided you are going to be kind.
When you’re at a party and someone puts a drink in your hand, you don’t take it, because you’ve already decided you’re going to be responsible.
When someone asks to join in on your plans, you include them, because you’ve already decided you are going to be inclusive.
When you’re offered a way to cheat on a test, you don’t do it, because you’ve already decided you’re going to be honest.
When you’re struggling with a hard class or competing in a sport, you don’t give up, because you’ve already decided you are going to be strong.
When someone’s making you feel uncomfortable and you’re scared, you speak up because you’ve already decided you’re going to be brave.
Whatever the situation, no matter how complicated things get, these promises you made to yourself will empower you to do the right thing. It will take a lot of determination and sometimes you will fail. That’s okay, nobody is perfect.
But as you grow up and let the young woman you become tomorrow be defined by these promises you make today, you will be so proud of who you turn out to be. And you’ll learn that those principles you chose right at the start can be your guideposts for the rest of your life.
So, sweet girl, I ask you once more. What kind of person are you going to be?
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.
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