I’m sorry you had to put up with me telling you what to do and setting some questionable examples over the years, but it’s my job as your big sister to be bossy and know it all, right? Okay fine, I don’t know it all, but I have 2, 4, and 8 years on each of you and I promise I’ve been through some things you haven’t. I want you all to succeed in life (I know you will), but here are ten things I want you to know in order to accomplish that.
1.Mom and dad just want what’s best for you.
Trust me, I know better than anyone how annoying they can be. I’ve been grounded “indefinitely” (which, as I’ve learned, is code word for “we don’t know how long to punish you so you’re grounded until we say so.”) and they’ve enforced unnecessary rules. But they also love you so much more than you’ll ever understand until you have children of your own. They only want what’s best for us, which not every child can say about their parents. Do not take them for granted. They have made some amazing sacrifices in order for us to lead the lives we do.
2. The opposite gender will always be there, milestones will not.
Please never lose sight of your goals and even life events because of someone you’re interested in. Boys, I promise that girls will be chasing you your entire lives. And Jenna, I promise there will always be a boy that finds you beautiful and interesting. Don’t give everything up for someone just yet. You have a lot of life to live and you could miss out because you’re caught up in chasing someone. I promise that if you have to chase them or change for them, they’re the one that’s not good enough for you.
3. I won’t tell Mom and Dad.
Unless you’re in trouble or I think you’re being seriously irrational, I won’t tell Mom and Dad. You can tell me about those crazy nights with your friends or how absolutely awful dinner was last night. For some reason that I will never understand, God put me in the position of older sister so that I can be of service to you and teach you from my experiences. I will try my best to give you good advice and be there for you whenever you need it. If you need a ride home at 2 am from somewhere you’re not supposed to be, I won’t tell Mom and Dad. I promise.
4. Be kind, be smart, and be respectful.
I was trying to think of three actions that will get you whatever you want, and this is what I came up with. Be kind to everyone you meet. You never know what they’re going through or when they can do a huge favor for you. Be smart. Not only in school but in life. Make smart decisions. All three of you have good heads on your shoulders and know what the smart thing to do is. If not, ask Mom and Dad. They probably do. And be respectful. This kind of goes along with the whole being kind thing, but respect is going to get you so far in life. You can be the hardest worker in the world but if you don’t respect others or your surroundings, nobody is going to want to spend time with you. That means that nobody is going to want to hire you, or be your friend, or go out of their way for you. Also, being respectful will get you out of trouble 98% of the time. Trust me on that one.
5. “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Do not change who you are for anyone. You are amazing and beautiful and talented and interesting and anyone who thinks otherwise is a piece of sh*t and I will fight them. But seriously, anyone that wants you to change or doesn’t like you for who you are isn’t even worth your time.
6. Demand respect.
Because of all those things I mentioned before, you deserve respect. Don’t be rude about it, but definitely make sure you aren’t being treated in a manner that is any less than you deserve. If you feel that you are being disrespected, say something. You deserve to be treated with dignity.
7. Apologize when you need to.
Apologizing means admitting you were wrong, and admitting you were wrong is one of the hardest things to do. However, apologizing is going to get you places. People won’t remember the bad decision you made but instead they will remember how you dealt with it and how you apologized for your actions. If you wrong someone, just say you’re sorry. It takes less than a minute and you’ll be glad you did after.
8. Work hard.
Even though it doesn’t look like working hard is going to pay off, I promise it will. Don’t just work hard in school either. Work hard in sports, developing relationships, at saving money, at your part-time job. Not only will you learn so many things, you will also eventually reap the benefits of your hard work. Saving money for college instead of buying that new video game you want is going to give you so much more satisfaction in the long run than that game ever will. Sports and a job will teach you skills that you will use for the rest of your life. And if you work hard in school, that means scholarships for college. Scholarships are free money. Who doesn’t like free money?
9. Say please and thank you.
You’d be surprised at how many people don’t say it. Mom and Dad did a pretty good job of ingraining it in our minds, but it’s still important to be aware. “No, thank you” is so much nicer than just saying “no”. Adults will be impressed with your manners and people will want to be your friend because they think you’re nice. Whether you actually are or not is up to you, but simply using those phrases makes you stand out.
10. You are loved immensely and unconditionally.
By our family, by your friends, and especially by me. I am so proud of the individuals you have become and I can’t wait to see the things you guys accomplish in the coming years. I know each of you will do big things and I will be cheering you along every step of the way. Thank you for being such incredible companions and thank you for the last 16 years of my life. I’m not sure what I would do without you.