We recently surfaced this old gem. It is a letter of advice I wrote to Kyle for when he entered his teen years. I must have just entered the teens myself given the horrid handwriting, though my spelling hasn’t improved much since. Thank God for the red squiggly lines of spell check!
So that is my advice to 13-year-old Kyle. Talk about nuggets of wisdom. haha! I just wish I had taken my own advice on a few of those points. Life would have been a whole lot easier… Alas, it is now 2015 and Kyle’s high school career is ending.
I can’t bring myself to accept that tonight my baby brother graduates high school. To me he will always be the adorable little baby in his PJs with a pacifier and his miniature Braves baseball bat in tow. I love him more than he will ever know. He has become such a handsome, intelligent, and uncomfortably witty human being.
Though we don’t always see eye to eye on things, I respect his opinions and am impressed by his character. He is a good friend, a good listener, and a pretty good judge of character for a guy his age. Anyone would be lucky to call him a friend and there will never be a girl good enough to date him, in my humble, sisterly opinion.
But now I think it’s time for a new letter. As he prepares for the next phase of his life and packs his bags to head to college, I feel the need to revisit my past advice and pass on some new nuggets. Advice for the graduate…
Dear Baby Kyle,
• Realize the impact each decision you make has on the rest of your life. At this point in your life, you feel invincible! It is a wonderful feeling, knowing that your possibilities are endless! You have such a bright future ahead. But while enjoying the best years of your life always keep in mind the impact your choices have.
When making decisions, use Andy Stanley’s guide to determine if it is wise.
1) Is it wise given my past?
2) Is it wise given my present situation?
3) Is it wise in light of my future hopes and dreams?
If it doesn’t pass these three questions then you need to reconsider whatever it is. It may not seem like much at the time but even small choices echo or resurface later in life. What you do now, easy and care-free as it seems, conditions you for your future.
• Like my clique comment earlier, be aware of who you surround yourself with. You are influenced by your surroundings whether you choose to be or not. Surround yourself with motivated, driven people with qualities you admire.
Monya is your best friend and we have all but adopted him into our family. I tell everyone he is my baby brother too. I love him as if he were blood. I am thankful for y’all’s friendship. My advice to you is to never let that go. You are both such amazing young gentlemen. You each have hearts of gold. Never lose that. Never lose touch. He is a true friend. Those are rare. Don’t take that for granted.
• My ‘Don’t be racist’ should have been “hold no prejudices” towards anyone for anything. You have such a good heart and you see people for who they are, not by color, age, gender, or career.
• I think you have this part down, but don’t bog yourself down with stress over girls. Everyone you meet now will still be trying to figure out who they are in their new-found freedom. Relationships are hard enough when you’re just trying to get to know the other person – imagine how difficult it could be with each of you getting to know yourselves as well! Make friends with all sorts of people. Always be yourself, even if you’re still finding out who that is, and live life and laugh often. 😉
• Actually study and whatever you do, do NOT lose HOPE (figuratively or the scholarship). College is expensive. That is a lot of school to pay for. Make HOPE last as long as possible. And remember, do your homework!
• I’m going to repeat this point again, even though it is one I, myself, have failed at in the past. Do not drink, do drugs, or smoke. I might get in trouble for this but I’m going the extra mile here and say especially don’t smoke- you know our family history. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have had a drink do not, I repeat DO NOT, get behind a wheel. Do not let your friends get behind a wheel. Do not get in the car with someone who is under the influence and driving. I mean it! It is so stupid. So so stupid. An uber is SO cheap in comparison to a DUI or worse yet a life lost. I’ve said it already, but you really have no idea how loved you are. I can’t lose you, okay? Call me. I will drive those three hours to get you. No questions asked. Okay. Maybe a few questions but no nagging.
• And finally but most importantly: College and society love to distort everyone’s belief systems. Regardless of what they tell you. Regardless of any doubts you might have or any unbelief lurking in your heart, I love you so much and pray for you daily. God is so real. And He is good, and loving, and forgiving, and sovereign. We will never fully understand it all, but I do pray that even in any doubt or confusion you have that He never lets go of you. That He surrounds you with His grace and protection every second of every day. And I pray that one day you will understand all I am telling you now.
I love you forever,