This week I sat in my alma mater, substitute teaching the 12th grade English class. I realized that it had been 15 years since I’d sat in those desks. 15 years! Before everyone had a cell phone, before everyone had hair straighteners, before highlighting and sculpting, before buttery LulaRoe leggings, before Facebook and Instagram (thank goodness!). My mind started filling with things I wish I’d done differently along with things that I loved about that year…so I thought I’d write those thoughts down in hopes of helping someone else.
If I could tell you anything about this year, it’d be this:
Be a friend.
Remember whose name you carry.
Be Kind. Just be nice. I see so many kids who are simply rude – rude to their peers, rude to their teachers, and rude to their parents. You know what? It’s the kids who aren’t rude who make the great impression. I also see so many friendly kids – and they are so fun to be around. Be one of those people who refreshes others. Speak life with your life. Be kind. (Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32) Set the tone for your life now – set the expectation that you are a kind person and be one. Be kind to those who are struggling. Be kind to those who are cranky. Be kind to yourself – you are you. Be you and don’t try to be someone else. If you try to be someone else, the world will miss out on YOU.
Be a friend. Be a friend to your classmates. Be kind. Be friends and stop searching for love. Be a friend and stop worrying about someone to date. I look back and remember those girls who were friends with everyone. They went through school without worrying about dating. They graduated with their friends and without any awkward relationships to deal with. They were respected. They were kind.
Remember whose name you carry. Wherever you are, remember who you represent. Your parents (or those who raised you) invested much time and love into you – conduct yourselves in a way that brings them joy and respect. Whether it’s on the sports field, in the classroom, during a test, in your relationships, with your life choices…keep in mind that your behavior represents your family name. If you are a Christian, remember that you are carrying the name of Christ. Your behavior and conversation carry the name of Christ. You are a representative of Christ on earth. (2 Cor 5:20 – We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God we’re making his appeal through us…)
Have fun. You’re only a high school senior once. Have fun. Go wild for spirit week. Go wild for your sports teams (paint your face and cheer wildly). Next year you’ll be on your own and you’ll have so much more responsibility than you do now. Be young, have fun and don’t worry about finding love. Find friends and do fun things. Just remember while you’re having fun to be kind and represent your family and Christ 😉
If I could tell 18 year old Mia (me) anything, it would be these 4 things. And I’d probably also tell her to drop the flat iron and embrace that wild mane on her head (maybe I’d know how to tame it by now with 15 years of practice!). Perhaps I need to tell 32 year old Mia these same things…