Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dear 16-year-old-me

Hey Ronnie,

So I've been thinking a lot about you lately and I wanted to write you a quick note based on some things I've learned over the past 16 years. You see, I'm 32 now and have now doubled you in age. I'm not saying that I'm twice as smart, but I'm definitely at least twice as wise and then some. I would be remiss if I didn't share some things with you as you embark on the post-16-year-old journey that you're about to start.

First, let's talk about some things that you're doing right...

I know you don't take school very seriously, but I'm proud of you for not letting your grades slip. You'll be in college soon, and as a result of those good grades, you'll be able to save your folks some money. They can't afford to be shelling out college tuition along with paying for your little brothers private education. And you may not think about it now, but at some point, you'll be able to share the GPA with your future daughter.

I love your commitment to sports. You're a competitor just like me and I see how it fuels you in life, on the field and in the classrooms. I know that you're playing sports because you love them, but I'm telling you know, it's going to pay off in ways that you can't even grasp right now. So, stick with it, give it your all, and know that the memories you're making now with teammates with last with you forever.

And finally, I know this is something that you rarely think about, but good job on your treatments. Now, it's not entirely up to you as I understand it, but know that your mom is doing what she believes is best for you, and guess what, she's right. You're building up a baseline health right now that I promise you'll be thankful for in the future. Sometimes, it's not even about your lungs or about the treatments, it's about establishing what's important in your life and what's not. You're mom realizes that treatments are important, and even if you don't at the moment, you will when you're my age.

With that in mind, let's talk about some of the mistakes I made when I was your age with the hope that you won't repeat my offenses...

Speaking of your mom, don't give her such a hard time. Don't you realize that every decision she's made for the last 16 years has been because of you?? There are things that she wishes she could have done, or extra money that I'm sure she would have wanted to spend on herself, but she didn't - it all went to you. She loves you and your brothers more than you'll ever know and the amount of sacrifice she's given to the family will never be able to be repaid. But, with that said, you can start by acting like you love her instead of just saying it.

You need to be nicer to people. I know you think that you stick up for those less fortunate and knock other people down "a few pegs" who you think deserve it, but in reality, it's not your job to knock those people down. Approach them like a man and get to know them and just maybe you'll see what makes them tick. Right now, you're just being a boy who gets the approval and laughs from your friends by being mean to others. That's not right and that's certainly not what God would want you to do.

Speaking of God, get to know Him for yourself. Right now, the only reason you know Him is because your parents make you "know" Him. Your walk with God isn't about going to church; it isn't about praying; and it isn't about telling people that you're a Christian. He wants nothing more than to develop a relationship with you that's real and personal. All of that other stuff is important, but none of it holds a candle to actually knowing the heart of your Lord and Savior. When that happens, you can't help but have it bleed over to other areas of your life. Pursue Him, He's waiting.

I know it sounds like I'm harping on you a bit, but it's only because I love you. You're a good boy right now, but I think you can be an even better man. I know that's in your heart and I look forward to watching you grow.

Oh, and one more thing, break up with your girlfriend. You're wasting your time. God's already created the perfect woman for you, but you won't meet her until you're 28. I know it sounds like a long time from now, but you're going to need 12 years to become the man of her dreams.

32-year-old Ronnie

**This post was inspired by the WEGO Health Blog Challenege