As my son Cole heads to high school today, I have been wrestling with how I have prepared him for this new season of life.
Have I done enough?
I know for a young man there may be no greater challenge these days than navigating the high school experience. This is the season of life where …
– grades really count
– sex really happens
– hormones rage
– tempers flare
– faith is challenged
– friends are made and betrayed
– party invitations are extended
– love is lost and found
So as I send him off into this grand adventure called high school … here are nine things I have been trying to reinforce and teach my son:
1. Start your day with Jesus.
Son … I know this means getting up even earlier … but as Henry Beecher says, “The first hour is the rudder of your day.”
And whether you are listening to your Bible on your phone as you brush your teeth or reading your Bible as you eat cereal, please do not neglect this habit. There is nothing that will provide you with more confidence during this coming year than being firm in your foundation and of who God says you are.
– You are more than a student.
– You are more than an athlete.
– You are more than a friend.
– You are more than a musician.
You are a child of the most high God, and He has created you on purpose as His great masterpiece … new braces and all!
2. You’re cool, brah!
Son … I know that means less and less coming from dad, but I figure if I can say it 700 times, then 7 times may sink in.
So I’ll say it again, “You are the coolest young man I know.”
– You are funny.
– You are caring.
– You are creative.
– You are brave.
– You are adventurous.
– You are handsome.
– You are confident.
– You are smart.
– You are full of faith.
3. Bounce your eyes off the yoga pants.
Son … this is very simple … yoga pants will mess up your mind as there is little left to the imagination.
When you see the Lululemon logo … look away!!!
4. Your high school is a mission field not a popularity contest.
Son … God knows exactly what class schedule you will have and what lunch you will eat. He also knows every single other student who will be around you during the day.
He has put you where He has put you on purpose.
I do not expect you to spend your day being an evangelist. But I pray you never miss a chance to encourage someone who is broken or stand up for someone who is being beat down.
I pray that you will live your high school life for an audience of ONE not 2,500.
5. You will have teachers who will mock God but also speak truth.
Son … do not be confused when a teacher who does not claim to know God speaks truth.
I think one of the greatest perils of Christian kids is thinking that anyone who doesn’t know God speaks only lies. The truth is that people who don’t know God can still speak truth.
That is because God has created them, whether they admit that or not. And God, who owns truth, has deposited it inside all of His creation.
People can speak His truth without understanding, admitting or accepting who He is.
6. You must treat girls with respect.
Son … many of your friends will treat girls with very little respect because they have never been taught to respect or interact with the opposite sex. But you have been given a great gift in your 17 year old sister.
As you head to High School and you are wondering …
– Should I open the door for a girl?
– Should I make a sexual comment about a girl?
– Should I be honest with this certain girl?
Just ask yourself how would you want another guy to treat your sister.
Would you want a guy to open a door for her? YES!
Would you want a guy to make rude sexual comments about your sister? NO
Would you want a guy to be honest with your sister? YES
Son … girls are different but not lesser.
They are priceless and meant to be honored, protected and respected.
7. Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.
Son … how many times have you heard me say that?
This is one of those sentences I have tried to speak to you and your sister as often as possible the past few years. And now as you enter into High School, this principle hits its peak of usefulness and truthfulness.
Who you choose as friends will determine so much of your High School career.
I am not saying, don’t be kind, accepting and open to all … I am just saying, be careful who you choose to hang with most, because that is who you will most become like.
8. Give grace to your teachers.
Son … remember your teachers are human too!
You have no idea if a teacher is coming off a great summer or a terrible summer. And there is no doubt that teachers also feel unique pressures and get nervous about the first day and week of school.
Their job will be much easier, and you can endear yourself to your teachers, by simply giving them some grace and assuming positive intentions.
They are not there to make your life miserable!
They are there to protect you, teach you and help you succeed in your freshman year.
They absolutely do care about you.
Listen to them and give them new grace each day.
9. You don’t have to be perfect.
Son … I do not expect you to be perfect.
You will make mistakes.
I expect you to make mistakes, and I want to tell you right now that your mistakes will not affect how much I love you.