Sunday, October 16, 2011

Words to a young teen

A friend asked me to "take a few minutes and jot a note of wisdom and encouragement" to his son, who is about to enter the teenage years. Wisely, he asked a lot of us for this (more to the point, he asked a lot of people besides me) but anyway here's mine:
You're entering a time of great opportunity and growth, though it may feel more like a maelstrom of confusion and insecurity. When I was your age, I looked at the grown men around me and thought they had it all together: Would I have my life together when I got to be their age? As it turns out, they didn't have their lives as much together as I thought they did, and I spent too much time thinking about what things would be like way out there; I sometimes wish I had taken more time to enjoy the present, back when I had so much more time.

I used to think the most important thing was to avoid making mistakes. I thought if I could just stay out of trouble, things would be okay. The problem with this perspective is that I avoided all kinds of adventures because I thought I might goof up.

So my wish for you is that you take enough time to enjoy what's right in front of you. It's prudent to prepare for the future, to seek guidance and blessing from the Lord and so on, but don't forget that today is part of your life too. And I hope that you don't waste as much effort as I did trying to avoid mistakes -- focus rather on seeking the excitement and adventure and blessing that God wants you to enjoy.

As I look at those words, it occurs to me that I haven't outgrown that advice myself.

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