To My Teen: 13 Things I May Have Forgotten To Tell You
To My Beloved Teenager,
As I watch you grow day by day, I wonder how you are going to turn out. I really hope you are becoming a decent human being, and I actually have seen a few glimpses that tell me you are. However, some days, it's hard to say for sure.
Let's just say you're at a "difficult" age right now. Maybe you don't see it, but boy, I do. You are in emotional turmoil. You are happy one minute and angry the next. (Okay, actually, I haven't seen you smile in a while, but I assume you're happy. Let's work on the smiling, okay? Thanks.) Most of the time, I have no idea if you are angry with me or just angry with the world. I mean, I know I embarrass you just by existing, so it was probably me. Sorry for being such...a mother. I'll try harder to hide my motherness in public from now on, if you'll promise to smile at me just once this week.
I know you will be leaving my nest soon, and I hope I've taught you everything you need to know. There's just so much, so if I've forgotten something, please forgive me. I did my best, even if I am just a mother.
In the last days, weeks, months, I have been working on this list of things you might need to know. Some of these are things I know I've told you, and you just haven't listened to me. Others are things I may have forgotten to say. Either way, here are some things you need to know.
1. The World Is Going to Hurt You
I'm pretty sure this is a lesson you've already learned. You've been hurt. I've watched it happen. We, as a family, have been hurt. People can be jerks. They really can, and I'm really sorry about that.
Right now, you think they are just jerks because they are teenagers. I hate to break it to you, but adults are jerks too. Of course, not everyone is like that, but the vast majority of people in your world don't care much, if at all, about your feelings or your needs. So, my sweet baby (I know, I'm being a mother again), don't let them get to you. When the world hurts you, laugh it off and move on.
How Many True Friends Do You Have?
2. Not Everyone In The World Will Hurt You
Now, I know I just said the world is full of jerks, and pretty much, that's true. However, not everyone around you is careless and selfish. So, don't become a cynic. Believe people are good until they prove otherwise. Then, dust yourself off and walk away.
As for the people who don't turn out to be jerks, cling to them. Cherish them. Appreciate them. If you aren't already related to them, they will still become your family. Never take these people for granted, because true friends are few and far between. Love them.
3. Febreeze Does Not Work That Well
My little darling, hear me when I say this to you. There will probably come a time in your life when you think you can avoid doing laundry by masking odors with a fragrance. I've seen (or smelled) it happen a few times already. I am here to tell you that it doesn't work. Febreeze will not cover B.O. Please take my word on this. Do your laundry.
4. Love, Really Love Other People
Here's a secret for you. I love you, more than you can ever possibly understand. I'm not sure you will ever be able to fathom how much of my heart you hold in the palm of your hand. I love you when you are being kind, and I love you when you aren't very kind. I just love you. Period.
Even with as much as I love you, God loves you more. I don't really understand how that is possible, but it is. He loves you when you doing good and when you are being bad.
As much as God loves you, he loves other people too. He loves them when they are nice and when they are naughty. If God loves them that much, shouldn't you?
Even when people are mean to you, love them anyway. If they need to be handled, let God do the handling. You just do your part to be loving, kind and generous. Your life will be much happier if you can follow this rule. Trust me on this.
5. You Are Smarter Than You Think
I hope I've instilled self confidence in you. I think you're pretty stinkin' terrific, and of course, I think you are a genius. You are my child. How could you not be? (Kidding. Sort of.)
In all seriousness, you are smart. You may not always feel like it, but you are. There will be people who are better at certain subjects than you, but that does not make you less intelligent. It just means you have a different type of intelligence. Never, never let anyone make you believe you are stupid. You aren't. Never let anyone make you feel less valuable because you don't have the same knowledge they do in a certain subject.
6. You Aren't As Smart As You Think
I know I just contradicted myself, but hear me out.
You are about to hit a period of life where you believe you are brilliant. (Well, actually, you're already there, a little bit, but it will probably get worse before it gets better.) You will think, because you've learned it in school, you know everything. You will have babies of your own, and you will wonder how you survived having me as your mother, because I am Clueless (with a capital C). You're probably right. I'm pretty clueless about a lot of things, but so are you.
Don't get so full of yourself that you can't listen to advice from older people. You haven't lived life yet. You will soon enough, and then you will realize how clueless you really were. Be open to the wisdom of older people. They've seen much more than you have. They may actually know what they are talking about.
7. No One Is Smart
With as wise as older people can be, no one is as smart as God. The Bible tells us so in 1 Corinthians 1:25. Even the wisest of wise men is dumb compared to God.
Never try to replace the wisdom of God with a person. Just because a person tells you something is right or wrong, that does not make it so, regardless of how wise that person seems to be. Instead, turn to God's wisdom. The Bible is your GPS for life. Study it. Don't rely on other people to tell you what it says.
8. The Stove Top Is Not Self-Cleaning
My sweet child, listen to me. I have been cleaning up after you for years. I know you think I'm mean, because I make you do chores, but hear me. You don't do everything. One of the things you miss on a regular basis is wiping off the stove top. In fact, you miss wiping the counter tops too. When you are out on your own, please look at those areas and clean them. If not, your kitchen will be gross in no time. There is no cleaning fairy. There is only me. The mother.
9. You Are Not As Good Of A Driver As You Think You Are
Please, oh please be careful. I know you think you are a good driver, and you are. However, no one is that good. Don't speed. Don't be crazy. Just drive. And watch out for the speeders and crazies around you.
10. There Is No Shame In Using Coupons
I hope you get a great paying job that you love. I hope it will be one that allows you an income where you never have to live paycheck to paycheck. Even if that happens for you, it is still wise to save.
Never be embarrassed to use a coupon. If someone makes fun of you for it, don't worry about it. Apparently, they won't be working as hard for their money as you will. If companies put coupons out there, they want you to use them. There is no shame in that.
On a similar note, most of the time, generic and store brand items are just as good as brand names. Try them! As you know, you have tried them, since that's what you have been given and fed for your entire childhood.
11. Not All Store Brand and Generic Items Are Worth Buying
I know I just told you to save money by buying generic items, but sometimes, you have to buy the name brand. It's just a fact of life. There are certain items that just don't compare.
Off the top of my head, the things I can think of that aren't good in store brand are Nilla Wafers (They are too hard), dish soap (It's not soapy enough), Rice Krispie Treats (They taste weird) and maxi pads (Don't ask). If you're going to buy those items, just bite the bullet and pay for the name brand. Learn from my mistakes.
12. Never Let Technology Replace People
We live in a time where technology is all around us. I use it too. I understand. (Contrary to popular belief, I am not so old I can't understand technology.)
I am all for texting, instant messaging, emailing and other quick forms of communication. However, you still need to talk to people. You need to look them in the eye and connect with them. Don't get so trapped in your cell phone that you can't see the people around you. You need us whether you realize it or not.
13. Abuse Is Never Okay
Regardless of whether it is in your home or in the work place, it is never acceptable for someone to yell at you, belittle you or hurt you. There is no job or relationship worth enduring cruel treatment. Although there have been moments when you managed to push all my buttons and I ended up yelling at you (moments I regret, by the way...), that does not make it acceptable for anyone to treat you like that.
If you are in a loving, caring relationship and someone has a bad day and yells, that is forgivable. If you are in a relationship where you are constantly belittled or humiliated, that is not okay. Ever. I don't care how much he or she says they love you. When someone loves you, they treat you with kindness and respect. Period.
On a similar note, at work, it's not okay for others to yell at you or degrade you. A bad day is one thing. Constant behavior is another. No job, regardless of the pay or benefits, is worth being made to feel like a lesser human being.
If you are ever unsure about whether or not you are being fairly treated, ask me. I'll be honest with you.
There Is So Much More To Say
I could probably keep listing things for days or weeks and still not feel like I've told you everything there is to say.
The bottom line is, whether I've remembered to say every little thing or not, I have raised you to be a kind, caring, smart, thinking, feeling, faithful human being. I trust you will do me proud.