Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter Upon Entering Middle School




I will admit, though, that I am also more than a little scared.  You see, I have heard lots of stories about kids - adolescents - making bad decisions, succumbing to peer pressure, using social media for inappropriate purposes, and trying to do grown up things like sexting and drugs far too soon.  I'm sure you have heard some of these stories, too.  

Part of me wants to think you are too smart and too good to fall into those traps.  However, there is another part of me that refuses to be a naive parent who is blind to the truth.

We are currently standing at the bottom of a mountain - a mountain called adolescence and puberty and middle school and high school.  We are preparing for the climb that will lead us to a peak with the most wonderful views and a fantastic sense of accomplishment.  On our way there, though, as we climb to the top, I want you to remember these pieces of advice.  I will do all that I can to remember them as well.
  1. Work hard.  Remember that school work comes first and everything else is secondary.  That includes sports and friends and other hobbies.  I don't expect you to be perfect, but I do expect you to try your hardest every time.  If you do, I will be proud, but you will be prouder.
  2. Be brave.  You are going to have so many new experiences.  Some will be good.  Some will not.  When you face these challenges, be brave.  Stand up for what you believe even if it makes you "uncool."  That will fade, but your courage will make a lasting impression.
  3. Be yourself.  You are unique and wonderful and just the way God intended you to be.  Don't ever change in an effort to "fit in."  If others cannot see how fantastic and remarkable you are, that is their loss - not yours.
  4. Do what you know is right.  When others are pressuring you to do something and your gut tells you not to - LISTEN!  We have tried our best to teach you what is right and what is wrong.  You will know it in your heart.  You just have to follow your instincts.
  5. Get organized.  School and life are only going to get harder and busier and more complicated from here on out.  Get organized now.  Learn how to manage your time.  Don't procrastinate.  These are habits that will help you in middle school, in high school, in whatever career you choose, and in life for a long time to come.
  6. Be kind.  Adolescence can be tough and awkward and uncomfortable.  Remember that everyone  is struggling with something.  Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.  Even when it's not popular, be compassionate and courteous.
  7. Be confident.  You are awesome.  Don't ever forget that.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  You will change the world - I'm sure of it.
  8. Surround yourself with the right kind of people.  There is an old saying (that I heard many times from Memaw and Paw) that says something like "you are no better than the company you keep."  If others are mean or deceitful or immoral or if they try to change you, then they are not the kind of people with whom you should spend time.  Rise above them.  
  9. Remember that we will always love you.  Daddy and I are here for you anytime you need us and there is nothing you can say or do that will make us stop loving you.  If you have questions, we will find answers.  If you are unsure how to handle a situation, we will gladly give you guidance.  If your heart is breaking, we will dry your tears.  If you have made a mistake, we will help you amend it.  If you are about to explode with joy, we will share your happiness.  All you have to do is come to us.  We are NEVER too busy for you and your "problems" are NEVER too small or too big.  All you have to do is talk.  We will listen.  I promise. 
  10. Have fun.  You are on the brink of learning so much and experiencing so much.  It won't all be easy going - there will be bumps in the road.  But, despite the bumps, there will also be lots to enjoy.  Smile.  Laugh.  Make new friends.  Soak it in.  Enjoy this stage in your life.  Believe me, it will go by faster than you can believe!


The Golden Spoons

28 comments:

Karen said...

so many letters to kids today...so as soon as I saw the title I started to cry...yes I am a sap, LOL. I think the fear is that our kids will forget all the lessons and facts we have taught them, and forget to be who they are and succumb to pressure or worse.
Reading blogs of moms with older kids is preparing me for how I want Dino to be go out into the world and how to stand up for who he is.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Karen! Watching the kids grow up is wonderful. Lately, though, I have heard so many stories about "tween" -especially girls- doing stupid stuff. I hope that mine won't forget what we've taught them but peer pressure is a scary thing!

Tamara Bowman said...

Ok, I might cry. What unchartered territory for her and YOU. It does feel like a mountain, doesn't it? I think we're still in the valley over here but looking up in fear and wonder. This is really making me think about what I want my daughter to know - about life and friends and love.

Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha said...

Wow. Just wow. This is fantastic advice for all of us, but especially middle school kids. I will need to save this for my daughter when she starts middle school in... five years. That sounds way too soon!

From Tracie said...

This is a great letter!! My daughter is going into fifth grade this year, and with middle school rushing towards us, these are a lot of the same things I have been thinking about lately.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Enjoy the valley while you can!! (I know I'm not supposed to say that!) I really am looking froward to this new territory but it is sad and scary t the same time.


This is a post I wrote a couple years ago about ALL the lessons I want to teach all three of my daughters. You might enjoy it, too. :-) http://www.the-golden-spoons.com/2011/04/lessons-i-want-to-teach-my-daughters.html

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

On the one hand five years seems like a long time, but we both know it will go by way too fast! It seems like just yesterday I was sending Rachel off to Kindergarten with a toddler on my leg and a baby in my arms. They will be starting 3rd grade & 1st grade next week, too!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks Tracie! The last half of her 5th grade year seems like a bug blur as we prepared for middle school. It is a big step! (Thanks for the tweet, too!)

Dana said...

Excellent advice, Lisa. Funny how we both wrote to our daughters today. Mine survived middle school unscathed; it was a good three years for her. I hope it's the same for your daughter, and I suspect with her parents by her side it will be!

The Dose of Reality said...

Aw!! My son starts 8th grade and his last year of middle school tomorrow. It's scary, but so wonderful to see them mature and blossom. It's going to be great!! This is EXCELLENT advice for middle school..and for life in general! !!--Lisa

Rachel @TaoOfPoop said...

Aw, your daughter is lucky to have you by her side, as she goes on this journey. It is so exciting and so scary! What a paradox, huh?

Ashley Linder said...

Lisa, you are going to make me cry! That was beautiful!! I hope you have a copy of that to save and give to her. Incredibly written!!

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

Lisa, what a wonderful letter to your daughter. I can feel your love for her and your guidance while reading it and you've also given great advice! And aw, they grow up sofast sofast sofast...sooooo fast.

Martha said...

What a great letter (and list). Georgia will be moving up to middle school next year (and Henry will be high school!) and I'll have to remember to show her this post.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Dana! It seems that all I have been hearing are the bad stories. It's so nice to hear from someone who had a good experience!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thank you Lisa! It will be an adjustment for all of us, but I think we'll be fine! (At least, I hope!)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes - parenting is one giant paradox isn't it? :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

You are so sweet, Ashley! She read it and I just hope she remembers it!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes, Kristi, so so fast!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thank you Martha!

The Dose of Reality said...

I LOVE the message here. My older daughter and I have been talking a lot lately about being awesome...and how you have to know it inside. And that I will always remind her, too. I am saving this.-Ashley

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Absolutely! We have made some strategic decision regarding my oldest's school this year and I am hoping it will help her "know it inside!" Thanks, Ashley!

scarymommy said...

I love this!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thank you!

Stephanie Sprenger said...

Beautiful message, Lisa. Your daughter is lucky to have a mother who is so aware and supportive. My oldest is only 7, and I think many of us dread the middle school years and all the unchartered territory that goes with it. I bet you and your family will find you are able to navigate it well...

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Stephanie!

Cassandra Schmigotzki said...

I wish I would've thought of this for my son. He also started middle school this year.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Never too late! :)

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