- God loves you. I am going to do my best to model this for you. With every fiber of my being I am going to try and act loving no matter what, but even when I don’t I want you to know that God loves you. You see, God and I are on the same team when it comes to loving you. No matter what you do or who you are, we love you. We love you so much that we want to have a relationship with you that helps you grow into a better person, but even if you reject us, we will still love you.
- Dream Big Dreams and Work Hard. You can do great things. However, doing great things starts with dreaming big dreams. So dream big, make big plans, aspire to greatness. You can do it. You can be great because there is a simple secret: you can do big things if you are willing to work hard. Greatness comes by the grace of God and the sweat of your brow, so set your eyes on the sky and work day and night until you are in the clouds!
- Sports are Fun Games. I hope you enjoy sports and being part of a team. If you want to play, I hope you play with all your might, but even more I want you to know that they are not more important than friends, family, school, work, and God. In the grand scheme of things they are relatively unimportant, and are not worth sacrificing what IS important. Which leads me to the next thing.
- You Should Fight Big Fights. While your peers are busy spending their emotions on video games, football, and television, I want you to discover the fights worth fighting. I want you to get angry about slavery. I want you to rise up for the poor. I want you to shout for the victims of injustice. I am going to do my best to help you find and fight the fights that are really worth your heart and passion.
- We are Called to Defend the Poor and Oppressed. God loves everyone, and has a special place in his heart for those who are poor and oppressed. I don't want you to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. I don’t want you to turn a blind eye to the big issues like homelessness or bullying. Some people do not have a voice or power, and God wants us to give them our power and voice.
- Take Time to Enjoy the Beautiful. I want so much for you to enjoy beautiful things: people, printings and music. Oh yes, music. I want you to like it all from Mumford and Sons, Nirvana and Guns and Roses to James Taylor, The Doors and the Beatles. From Norah Jones, Harry Connick Jr., and Frank to George Gershwin, Thomas Luis DeVictoria, and Mozart. I want you to lose yourself in the work of Michelangelo, Raphael and Monet and have your imagination captured by Surrat, Picasso and Klee.
- Women are Worthy of Respect and Honor. One of the most beautiful things in creation is a woman. I want you to see that their beauty comes not from their skin or their clothes but from the image of God within them. They are incredible comrades and brilliant partners. Because of all that and because they are human like you, they are worthy of respect and honor. I want women to feel they are better for having been around you and desire to one day meet someone like you to marry.
- Friends Alter your Direction. Don’t fool yourself. Your friends will help determine where you go and how you act. They will influence what you think is good and what you treat as funny. I do not want your friends to choose you. I do not want you to just hang out with the first person who is nice to you. I want you to surround yourself with people who are headed where you want to go.
- Honesty works. Your world is filled with lies and people who use half-truths to manipulate others. But what they don’t know is that everyone, deep down, desires the truth. Proverbs says that “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." When you offer anyone a loving truth, they are better for it and will almost always thank you in the end.
- Be You. There will be no end of people who try to define you, place you on their path and confine your soul in their box of what they thing you “should” be. There will be a constant stream of people wanting you to march to the beat of their drum, but you don’t have to. God created you as a unique, precious gift to this world and being anyone else is depriving us all of the wonder that is you. So, let go of people pleasing, let go of the need to be like everyone else and be you. Whoever that is, however that changes, be you.
Question for the Comments: What is your list? What would you add?
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