Dear LB and Bubba,
I'm writing to you today because I want to caution and encourage you on the coming school year. I can't speak to Jessi's junior year of high school, but I know mine was pivotal.
I realize that there are some things that you're going to have to learn the hard way for yourselves. Those really are the best kinds of lessons, however, I am here to tell you as your big sister that there are some lessons worth avoiding.
1. Don't be a math slacker...or any kind of educational slacker for that matter. During my junior year, I did well in all of my classes save one, Math Analysis. It started off easy enough, but then it got hard and required more thought than I was used to giving to anything. I wasn't used to this struggle. I don't want to sound like a Bragging Brenda, but I've always been naturally smart. So when met with a true mental challenge, I chose to avoid the situation and simply not do my homework. And then when it got harder because I was behind, I continued more of the same. I managed to survive my first semester with a B (my first!), but my second semester was rough. Mom and dad got a letter about how I was struggling. And I talked about how it was the teacher's fault, when in reality, it was mine because I wasn't doing my homework.
LISTEN TO ME CAREFULLY BECAUSE HERE IS THE LESSON: BE YE NOT SO STUPID!!
Okay now here is the real lesson or moral of the story. There are two certainties in this world, death and taxes. There are also only two things that cannot be taken from you: your salvation and your education. Both of those things require work.
Work isn't always glamorous, but everything in this world having is worth fighting and working for.
If you do not know the answer to a question or what the heck just happened in class, do not, I repeat, DO NOT be afraid to ask a question!
If you don't ask, you will never know!
Take the time to learn how to do things right. This will effectively create a good work ethic and study habits. I am speaking from personal experience when I say I didn't learn how to study or this earth shattering concept of "asking a question" until law school. Yeah. Not a good time to eat that slice of humble pie that's been waiting for you for over ten years. You know why? Because there is mold and rot and all kinds of other disgusting stuff on the slice because it has sat there and decayed. And it is NASTY.
So please, do me a solid and learn this lesson now. Whatever you do with your life, you will have to work for it. There is no way around it. There aren't any shortcuts or ways to avoid the hard stuff no matter how hard you try. Learn that lesson now so it isn't such a shock to your core later in life.
Being a slacker will do you no favors. Decide now you want to be a fighter.
There are also lessons worth learning.
2. Do all the things.
If you are remotely interested in a group, club, topic, etc, then go to a club meeting or research the topic. Don't be afraid to pick up a book and read because your curiosity has been peaked.
Go to the football games. Go to the basketball games. Dress up. Act silly. Have fun.
You will never be as carefree again as you are right now. I know you're obsessed with being older and all the things that come with it, but trust me. Everything will happen in due time. Being an adult isn't all that it's cracked up to be, so be present where you are right now. Enjoy being 16 going on 17 years old.
Kiss the boys. Yes, LB Miss "I Have a Boyfriend", I'm talking to you. Now is the time to have fun and not be serious about boys. There will be time for that later. And you don't have to have a boyfriend to have fun or be cool.
Bubba, ask a girl out. I know you're shy, but I know you can do it. And my Camaro needs a cool dude to pick up a pretty girl for a date. It's an experience Poison Ivy needs to check off her list. Make it happen.
3. This is the year when you start to figure out who you are and what you stand for as a person.
I know I tease LB about how this is the year she is going to decide she wants to be a lawyer like me. But truly, between the lines, this is the year that I decided what I hold dear to me.
The thing is, next year you can vote and buy tobacco. (Don't buy it by the way. Those cancer sticks kill.) And for some reason, I really took those decisions and privileges seriously. 18 is also when you get your draft card Bubba. When 9/11 happened, I grew up a little and realized how important those little rules truly were.
Maybe it was 9/11 or maybe it was because I was a nerd, but I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted for myself when I was 17. I decided there were some things I was not willing to compromise on and I decided that there were only a few ways I could go about doing them. And so I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
Now I realize that not everyone knows what they want to be at 17 years old. Hear me when I say this: it is okay if you don't know what you want to do with your life yet.
My point is this: Take the time to figure out what you consider important. Because in a little over two years, you're going to have to fall back on it when you take off to college.
4. Take the first day of school pictures for dad willingly. In a few weeks, I will take my very last first day of school picture. I wish that dad could be here to take it for me. Jessi is a close second, but still. It is crazy to think that my very last first day of school picture as a student is finally here.
Enjoy that dad loves taking your picture. You'll miss it one day, I promise.
I love you both very much. I am so proud of you both. I'm praying hard for you always.
Have a great first day!
Love your big sister,
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