What I Wish I had Known as a Teenager

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This is me in 1982, I was 13 years old and about to start high school. I was insecure and fearful and suffered from chronic bad-haircut disease. Looking back, I wish I had known what I know now. If I could travel back in time and give myself some advice, this is what I would tell myself:

1.      You are already skinny. Work on your character, not your body.

2.      Date less. Spend time with girlfriends more. Not dating until college would have been a fine choice for me and saved me some heartache and self-loathing along the way.

3.      Be more about other people and less about yourself. I remember a friend telling me she wished she had a youth group like mine to go to because I talked about it so fondly. I told her she should look for one, but didn’t invite her to mine. She was dropping hints, but I wanted to keep school and church separate. My youth group was mine, and she couldn’t have it. I regret that. So when you meet Lisa, invite her to church before she has to drop hints!

4.      Take risks. You will be embarrassed sometimes in life. You will turn red. You will wish you were somewhere else. Then you will go on living. It will be ok. Embarrassment is not the worst thing you can face.

5.      Listen more, talk less. Listen to what your friends are saying and what they aren’t saying. Ask lots of questions. Then listen to their answers. It’s a great way to make friends.

6.      Assume the best in people, even if it means you might get hurt. When I was a teen and someone said something snippy to me, I took it personally and was snippy back, because they deserved it. I wish I had taken the time to find out what was going on in their hearts that caused their harsh words and cared for them like a true friend.

Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and bright.
— Proverbs 20:11

 

Maybe it's helpful to go back and think about what you would tell your younger self. In all honestly, this is advice I still need to hear. What do you wish you knew in your teens?

 

Kathy EricksonComment