A couple of days ago, I wrote about my youngest, wayward daughter, age seventeen, who is learning what it takes to become the person God has intended her to be. Just as it was a bit of a struggle learning to walk or ride a bike, the last few years before we take the final step into adulthood is like a roller coaster ride a young person may experience that either takes them titillating through the ride with great success or skid out of control right into adulthood bound for a life of struggle and hardships.
I am praying and hoping this daughter chooses Roller-Coaster-Bound-For-Heaven before the ride ends at the Adulthood station.
I thought it would be best to write a letter to her since her roller coaster ride will soon end this summer in hopes she will come to understand why I had to pull the brakes on her ride several times this month. Er, some technical adjustments about the choice of friends and living up to the responsibilities she has been given.
When you came to live with me, I knew very little of the struggles your young heart had already been through. In and out of foster care for so many years left you hardened and scared. And here you were only thirteen. The large duffel bag, filled with clothes, shoes and assorted knickknacks, arrived much like you did. The heap of clothes packed as a mess, was the reflections of your life, disorganized from all the upheavals of moving, fabrics soiled and blood-stained from the physical abuse you endured and the sparse wardrobe you had were like the love you didn’t receive all through your growing years.
I didn’t know you and you didn’t know yourself. How could you through all this mess?
Well, life went on slow and steady and it took three years before you let some of your guard down and allowed yourself to flourish in a trustworthy relationship. How hard that first step must have been since you had trusted others before and before and before, only to find love was untrue and most unkind.
You have blessed me my dearest daughter when you decided to adopt me for your mother. Everyday I watch you grow stronger. Remember when you stumbled to read in the eighth grade with only a fourth grade reading skill? How amazed you were when you discovered how often our family gleefully went to the community library and you almost fainted when you saw the enormous piles of books each of your siblings borrowed at one visit! Oh, twenty books just for one person is way too little!
Look at you today . . . you read like crazy and rarely lift your head away from your Kindle! See how you’ve grown . . . you read almost at your grade level now and you have taken yourself out of the special education services. That’s sweet success my dear!
So now we come to another fork in the road, one you must soon go out on your own. I just have two things to tell you before your sharp curves and high and low dips of your ride begin, and may it help you to maneuver in life more successfully.
1) Friends: A friend can make you or break you. Simple rule. If a friend only wants to party and keep you distracted from your responsibilities, soon your roller coaster ride will be riding in the unemployment line, the high school drop out line and maybe even the single and pregnant line. If you surround yourself with friends whose parents value the wisdom that comes with hard work, opportunities and success will abound.
Here is a quote, a bit simple and childlike, but I hope you take it to heart and think upon it when your life gets a bit unbalanced:
Work while you work, play while you play.
That is the way to be cheerful all day.
All that you do, do with your might.
Things done by halves are never done right.
One thing each time and that done well
is a very good rule as many can tell.
Moments are useless trifled away; so
work while you work and play while you play.
~ M.A. Stodart~
2) Responsibilities: At every stage of life, one has responsibilities. Yes, a baby’s limited responsibilities are crying when hungry or needing something, ridding themselves of unnecessary items, hopefully in a diaper, and generally working hard to get their basic needs met. Perhaps this is more instinctual behavior than responsibilities.
Anyway, your job as a high school senior is the last step before adulthood. Study and make the best grades you can, prepare for college entry exams or decide on a technical career. Whether you know it or not, your after school, fast-food restaurant job is your internship in some ways, because it’s teaching you valuable time management skills, public speaking skills and dependability. And, this is a paid class! You get paid to learn instead of you paying to learn! Wow!!
I see your ride is waiting for you and the safety straps in place. Off you go now, my daughter, and know you are truly loved. If you hold on to friends who make you better in this life and carry your responsibilities well, the energy created will lead you on to a higher place.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
~1 Corinthians 13:11~
My heart will always go with you,