Over at verysmartbrothas.com, Champ posted two very insightful pieces on advice he would give to his teenage son and daughter. As I read, I started to think about what I would say to my own children in that crucial coming of age moment.
One of my favorite quotes reminds us that we stand on the shoulders of greatness, so I fully expect my children to be greater than me. With that in mind, here is the first of two lists I put together for my babies.
I don't even have them yet and I already want them to be teenagers!
Dearest Journey (or Sydney...or whatever name I come up with between now and then):
1. Step out on faith.
This world can be a scary place; but what's even scarier is the mental roadblocks we tend to place in front of us. When you are faced with an opportunity to do what you've never done or go where you've never been, take it. Trust that if God brought you to it, He will bring you through it. Never let fear keep you from living your dreams.
2. Find your true-blues.
These are the people who've seen you at your best, but still love you at your worst. They are the ones who you can call at anytime and they will come running. They hold you accountable for your actions...and sometimes, they make you mad because they are so right. Cherish them. Thank God for them. Most of all, give back everything that you have received from these beautiful relationships.
3. Don't fight.
There is never a good reason for you to lay hands on anyone else. If you are having a disagreement, solve the problem with your words and not your fists.
3a. Don't put yourself in a man's position.
If you do, you better be prepared for any consequences that result.
4. When it comes to rejection, shake it off.
Look, every man won't like you. But guess what? You won't like every man! Don't be offended when a man tells you that you are not his preference; be grateful that he moved out of the way to make room for the one who is supposed to capture your heart.
5. Get a pedicure. Often. Especially in the summertime.
Cracked heels are not the business.
6. ALWAYS practice safe sex.
Now, I am a huge advocate for abstinence. Sex creates far too many adult emotions, decisions and consequences. BUT, if you're going to do it, use a condom EVERY TIME. And if you're too scared to ask a man about protection, you don't need to be having sex at all.
6a. You do not have to be polite when it comes to your body.
You don't owe a man anything. If you do not want to have sex with a man, you say NO and mean it. If he can't take that no for an answer, just call me. I'll help him remember the definition.
7. Keep a journal.
It's so awesome to look back and read your life story in your own words. You will laugh at some of the things you thought were super-important; you'll be grateful for the growth you have experienced. Writing in a journal is the most uncensored you will ever be in this life, so take the time to get it all down on paper.
And leave it there.
7a. Don't post everything online.
PLEASE don't be that girl who chronicles every broken heart/argument/crisis/mundane activity with a Facebook status. People might "like" it, but they'll grow tired of you and your antics.
8. Love yourself.
Don't look to the world to define your beauty--write that definition for yourself. Love every part of your mind, body, soul and spirit. You are one of a kind, fearfully and wonderfully made by God Himself. Celebrate who you are, always.
8a. Love your hair!
I have had every hair color ever invented (except blonde); I've had a relaxer and I've gone natural; I have shaved off every strand and let it grow long. And yes, I have experimented A LOT with weaves and extensions. At the end of the day, I love this thick, unruly, sometimes curly and always nappy stuff on my scalp. It's what God gave me and I sure do appreciate it!
Oh, and don't worry if you mess up along the way. It always grows back.
9. Never stop learning.
Knowledge is more than sitting in a classroom, reciting facts and listening to lectures. Everyday, you will be afforded the opportunity to learn something that will shape your morals, ethics and even your faith. Take advantage of it. Take notes too. In life, the quizzes are always open book.
10. Know that I love you.
Even if you disregard everything I have mentioned, I will never stop loving you. When you fall, I'll catch you. When you cry, I'll wipe your tears. When you smile, I'll smile harder. You are the one I've dreamed of and prayed for all the days of my life. Whatever you do will make me proud to be your mother.
Even if you go to OSU. *cringes*
11. Be Encouraged.