A letter to my eldest as she begins high school

My oldest child starts high school this week. I remember those high school years all too well. She’s about to step on a roller coaster and I hope that the rides up are exhilarating and energizing and wonderful. And I hope that the rides down are as smooth as possible and don’t last too long. For Freshmen Orientation the school gave the parents cards on which to write a short message that they received at orientation. Here’s what I wrote:

Welcome to High School!
I know you’re excited and I am so excited for you! You will always remember these four years – here are a few other things to remember:

– Pick your friends wisely and always be a good friend.
– Every experience is something you can learn from.
– Savor the good moments and put the bad behind you.
– Time management is key now and always.
– Life is full of choices, try your best to make good ones.

(But it was a small card, so here are the things I’d like to add:)

– You don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up.
– Clean your room. A clean space gives you room to think and create.
– You’re going to make mistakes, own up to them, be responsible and move on to make better choices next time.
– Don’t let those mistakes be something that put you or those around you in danger.
– I will always give you and your friends a ride home, no matter where you are, at any time of the day or night.
– Don’t compromise in a relationship. A person who loves you will respect who you are.
– Try to make your corner of the world a better place.
– Never be afraid to hug a friend.
– Surround yourself with supportive, positive people.

And most of all:
– There is nothing you could possibly do that will ever make me stop loving you.


Stay safe. Be smart. Follow the path that God has laid out for you – you might have to look hard for it sometimes, but I promise it’s there. Remember that you always have a family that is here for you. And never forget how very, very proud I am of you.


4 thoughts on “A letter to my eldest as she begins high school

  1. Beautiful, those are things I wish I had said to my sons during those growing up years. The items that seem like little things really are big. The most important is I love you.

  2. This made me teary-eyed. I like that they let you leave a note. Every year, we talk to the kids about how they’re scared for freshman year, so knowing that they might get a note from mom or dad at orientation makes me happy.
    I love your thoughts, all of them. It’s going to be a great four years.

  3. I had to write a letter at college freshman orientation too…I wish I would have thought of some of these things then (we had a whole two pages!!!). Surround yourself with good people. This was my high school coach’s advice. And it is one of those that seems so easy, but isn’t always, and is SO important. Sometimes it takes making those mistakes (or two) before we really learn what is important in other people and in ourselves. These are the years to learn these things.

    I hope she has a great four years!!!

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