To a girl who will soon enter high school from a girl who has recently exited:
You have a new chapter ahead of you. It can be the best time of your life, or it can be the worst. It will be whatever you make it. Make it wonderful! The next four years of your life will be the fullest years you have experienced to date. You have so many things to look forward to: learning new things, making new friends, a chance at your driver’s license, new opportunities. Your brain is still young enough to soak up information almost effortlessly, but you are mature enough to be responsible and make a difference.
The next four years are designed to make you learn. So learn! Learn to teach yourself and to learn from others. Learn to love to learn! Studying can be enjoyable, I promise. You will need to study, and make sure that you do. Learn facts, and learn lots of them. Learn things that appeal to you as often as you can. It makes life more interesting. Learn life lessons, too. Over and over again in Proverbs, Solomon states that those who are wise are able to become more so, because such people are willing to take advice. Become wise, and behave wise. Listen closely when you are given sound teaching.
Now is the season of life when one’s character becomes more pronounced. You will begin to see those around you for what they are. To your sorrow, you will have to let old some friendships die. But if you ask God for godly friends, He will send you dear friends to grow in faith with. You will discover that you can relate to all ages now; your friends may range from eight years old to ninety. You will have to be discerning, however. It is inevitable that you will meet people who are not interested in being a true friend. Never grow too close to someone. You cannot trust anyone on earth except your parents. They should be your confidants. You can trust them to keep your words to themselves, and you can confidently act on their advice. You cannot trust your friends completely; even the most pure-hearted friend will let you down. You cannot even trust me, much to my sorrow. I am quite certain that although I will try to always build you up and bring you joy, someday I may unintentionally hurt you or disappoint you. I, like anyone else, am only human. No, do not grow too close to anyone. Be on your guard, for there will be girls who pretend to be your friend to their own ends and who may discard your feelings and your reputation like so much trash. There will be boys who pretend to be your friend because they find you attractive, and then forget all about you when someone else catches their eye.
Ah, yes the boys. Let me tell you about the boys. You may discover that boys find you interesting, but don’t let it flatter you. It is very flattering to receive attention, but you are still too young to think about boys and marriage. Don’t base your security and self-image on boys and their flighty fancies. Make sure that the way you behave and dress reflects a girl who tries to please her God, not the boys. Any boy who likes you only because you are physically attractive should be avoided. This kind of boy will only hurt you in the long run, even if he never means to. He is selfish if he tries to persuade you to have anything more than a friendship with him. The kind of man you want to marry begins with a boy who does not constantly focus on girls. The kind of man you want to marry wants a modest, godly wife who has character. Don’t flirt, and do your best to reign in your crushes. A little prayer goes a long way when it comes to this! I could write all day about this subject, but suffice to say that your high school years are not the time to engage in romantic relationships with boys. Wait until later. Your life will be far more pleasant, this I promise.
The standards for teenage success are incredibly low. You don’t have to live according to the world’s expectation that you will be silly, flighty, and care only about the short-term. You can make a difference now. You can do big things! Don’t be afraid to try. Remember, with God, all things are possible. If you want to create a new charity, organize a concert, write a book, start a website, manage a campaign, receive your associate’s degree, whatever, you can do it! It will be work and you may have to jump through a few hoops and scale a few walls to get there, but if it is God’s will that you do it, you will succeed. Maturity, success and godliness do not have to begin once you hit the magic age of eighteen. It can, and should, begin before that. Keep your ideas and dreams in sight.
Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end, you will be wise. This is Proverbs 19:20, and it should be tattooed on your forehead. Not really, but you know what I’m getting at! You know more than you ever have before, but you know the least that you will ever know from now on. Your parents have been around the block a few times and you have barely made it to the corner. They are smarter than you are, and listening to their advice will save you a lot of trouble. Trust me, I know. I tell my dad that I should buy a t-shirt that says, “MY DAD IS ALWAYS RIGHT!” because every time I ignore his advice, I run into problems. In the same way, I know that I can trust my mom and talk to her about things because at one time, she was my age and she understands the way I think. The book of Proverbs is very clear when it repeatedly states that scoffers and fools ignore advice from wise people, but smart people heed advice, rebukes, and learning. Don’t be a silly foolish scoffer, be smart and learn from people who are wise and knowledgeable. Be respectful. Someday you are going to be thirty or forty or eighty, and I can guarantee you will want to be treated with respect.
Get ready, high school is just around the corner! It will go faster than you expect, so grab these years as hard as you can and squeeze them for all they are worth. Good luck, and have fun!