Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Letter to myself

I was so disappointed in myself for the short letter that I wrote to myself as a senior that I have decided to write another letter to myself with advise for me in 10 more years.

Dear Self,
It has been another 10 years. You are now in your late 30’s. Whoa, that seems like a long ways away. I bet it flew by just like the 10 years since high school did. There are some important things I want to say.
*I hope you and Jake are still just as happy as you were when I wrote this. By now you will have been together for 22 years. Remember that he is your soul mate and treat him as the other half of you. Try to be patient, passionate, gentle and kind. Try to encourage him and lift him up. Make sure that you are taking time for each other and keep doing new things to keep the adventures going. You know he is a kid at heart and that is what makes him so endearing. Remember that the next time he had decided he can’t live without a remote control helicopter, or new video game system. Encourage that, it will keep you young as well. Remember what you have been through together and how that has cemented your heart to his.

* James and Linda are now 18 years old. You work with them is almost over. Try to remember to let them make their own mistakes, but be there to pick them up when they fall. Hopefully they will remember what you have taught them. Try to encourage making good choices for their future, but remembering, you cannot force your choices on them. Do not be hurt if they become more and more curious about their birth family. You were once like that yourself. Be honest about their past, but try not to paint their birth family in a hard light. Give them all of the information you have, including the pictures and letter from their birth mother and allowing them to discover the truth for themselves. Be there for them if they end up getting hurt and try not to say, "I told you so." Allow them to go out into the real world with poise and confidence. Remember, a wise man said that your job as a parent is to send your children out into the world as Christians with as little emotional baggage as possible. By now, they may be in a serious relationship. Remember that even if you don’t like the person they choose to be with, it is their choice. Bite your tongue until it bleeds if you have to. No good will come from being critical of their partner. All you will do is drive them away if you do not welcome their partner with open arms and treat them as though they are loved and welcome. Remember their choices for housing, or parenting may not be yours, but you have no right to be critical. You have not walked a mile in their shoes and have no room to judge. The most important thing is whether or not they make James and Linda happy, if they do, butt out. It sounds harsh, but I promise you it will be rewarding in the end. Remember not to be offended or judgmental if they don’t spend as much time with you as you would like. You did not raise their partners; they have to learn to love you. Make your house as warm and inviting as possible to foster such feelings. If they don’t spend every holiday with you, remember that their partner also brings their own traditions and family into the mix. They will also start their own family traditions as they age. Just be loving and encouraging, and most important, don’t assume you know what is best for them. If they ask you for something, or need something and it is reasonable try to do it.

*Noah and Mina are now close to 10 years old. They are no longer children, they are tweens. Try to remember that they are growing up and allow them the freedom to explore their world. Remember to treat them as two separate people with two separate interests. Try not to smother them because they are your youngest. Try to raise them to be independent, but to always know that you are there for them. Remember to make lots of memories. A nap on a Sunday is less important than a family activity that will create life long feelings of love and security. Try not to make rules just to make rules. If you have to make a rule they feel is unfair explain your position to them. Reach a compromise if possible, but stand your ground if it is not. Chances are if they know the reason behind a rule, they will be much less resentful and rebellious. Teach them the value of an education. Reward them for hard work in school just as you are rewarded with raises in the real world for a job well done. Make sure you attend church even if you are tired. Those Sunday morning lessons will stay with them for life.
*Most importantly, remember to love. Remember to control your tongue. The tongue is the most vicious weapon according to the Bible. Keep trying to befriend people even if it is hard and humiliating, however, remember to reach a stopping point long before you get hurt. Put your all into it, but recognize that you cannot win everybody. Your ability to keep trying is one quality that people love about you. However, there is no need to lay awake at night worrying about the people you can’t win. Life is too short to be unpeaceful.
Remember to have fun and enjoy life!

These are just a few points. I am sure I will edit and add to this periodically. It will be a living document, but one that I am sure I will appreciate through any situation.