Dear Son/Dear Daughter

In just a few days, we will begin a new year.


Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Yet, I love the beginning of a new year. For me, it is a good time to think about my life, both the past and the future. It is a time to think about where I have been and where I am going.

A few days ago, I wrote the following for a young friend of mine. She graduated from college and is embarking on a new time of life. She is also, like the rest of us, beginning a new year. I write to encourage her. Perhaps you will find this encouraging or useful. You might even think of these thoughts as words for a daughter or son.   

1. Look in the mirror and know that you are just right. You do not have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, or have a certain amount of money in order to be fully human. Look carefully at Jesus and you will see what it means to really live a full life, as a complete human being.

2. Cherish your character. Do what people with great character do. Make decisions that you think people of high character would make, even if you feel like you are the only person trying to do what is right. You will never, ever regret doing the right thing but the reverse can’t be said.

3. Enjoy being you. You don’t have to look like others or talk like others. In fact, you don’t have to meet the approval of others. You are worth knowing, worth loving, and worth being treated right. Don’t settle for anything less.

4. Be friends with people who take the high road. Yes, these people may be harder to find. There are far more people who are content to just get by. There is always someone around who will drag you down. There are people who have no shame and very low standards. Choose to be with people who really want to live right and who appreciate someone else who desires the same.

5. Live a significant life. Having a life that is significant or important doesn’t come by having lots of money or by having a glamorous job. A significant life belongs to a person who serves other people and makes a positive difference in someone else’s life.


Which one of these five statements might be especially important for a younger person to hear? Why?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “Dear Son/Dear Daughter

  1. It’s hard to pick just one – depends on the person. I’m certainly going to do something similar for our oldest granddaughter who turns 15 in February. Even her mom has a hard time understanding her. She is not close to anyone and I pray that I might reach her. Being a teen in this day and age must be a whole lot harder than when I was a teen!! Thanks so much!

  2. this list is wonderful, but I especially appreciate number 5. as a college-age female, there seems to be so much pressure to show everyone that girls are just as capable as boys. we are “supposed to” get a degree, or several degrees, and find a career. we are “supposed to” work as hard as we can in that career so we can advance and make lots of money, enough money to support ourselves. we “should not” need to depend on a man for anything.

    well, the Savior of the world came as a man. and I depend on Him for my life.

    and my earthly desire is to get married and have kids, serving my family and others in a way that pleases God. it is my goal to live a significant life, even if it’s only significant to those around me.

    thanks for the encouragement.

    • Hope, thanks for your comment. The pressure on college students or college age people is incredible. This pressure is felt by both guys and girls. Sometimes person even receives some of this pressure from the one she/he is dating. For example, a guy may feel enormous pressure from his fiance regarding this issue of significance. I remember one young woman who insisted that her fiance make a certain amount of money so they could marry and have the means to live as she was accustomed in her home (of course it took her parents 25 years to get to that point). Thanks, Hope.

  3. I’m thinking that #4 is especially important. It’s easy to get so busy that we don’t take time to develop those quality friendships with people who will be there to sustain us when we hit a bump somewhere down the road. In the exuberance of youth it’s difficult to realize just how important this will be someday. From the perspective of an older, sometimes less energetic person, I can’t think of anything more important. That’s one of the reasons church is vital to our growth. Everyone needs it whether they realize it or not.

  4. I have been a silent blog reader for a long time, and I really appreciate your words. I also appreciate what appears to be a kind and pastoral heart from your writing. I wanted to comment because this post was very moving and challenging for me. I have four children 6 and under, and I want them to know these things that you have written. I especially appreciate #2. I pray for my kids every night that they will grow into the work that God has created for them to do for the purposes of his glory, and being of high character for the sake of Christ’s name gives Him glory with even the little things. I want them to know they are loved by God, liked by their parents, and that they live for God’s glory. I think these points will help guide them in this direction.

    • Will, thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate the kind words that you said about this post and the blog in general. I am glad you posted this comment and told me something about your children, etc. It sounds like you are blessing these four small children with your nightly prayers and your own priorities for them. What a gift to them, Will. Thanks again for writing.