Today Benjamin started tenth grade and Cava the fourth.
What words of wisdom do I have for them as they start another school year?
Strive for excellence, not just academically but, more importantly, in terms of character. Walk in honesty, integrity, and godly-courage.
Have the confidence that you have something to offer, a perspective that no one else has but listen to others because they do as well. You never know how you might see the world differently if you just stop and hear what others have to say.
Walk in extravagant compassion because you never know what someone around you is going through.
Extend the same grace to them that you would want extended to you. Be someone who practices Hebrew 12:15, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God."
Be guided by grace, not fear. Everyone in school is insecure and wants to be accepted. Don't let worrying about what others might think change who you are. Let others see what is unique about you and look to find the uniqueness in others. Originality should be embraced and celebrated, not made fun of or ridiculed. Creativity is not something a person is necessarily born with, it is something you nurture and aspire to. Being thought odd just means others haven't caught up with you yet.
Be present. Don't be in a rush to get through your day. If you do, you may miss the miracle.
Be respectful of others.
Open yourself up to the experience. Approach learning with a sense of wonder. You don't have to know all the answers to life, but be full of questions about it. Remember, a closed mind shows open ignorance.
Don't be afraid of failure. It's not the end of the world to make mistakes. It's how you deal with your failures and mistakes that matter.
Read a book you normally wouldn't. Speak to another kid that you normally wouldn't.
Let this be a year that you make your mark on your school and on those around you.
Be ambitious. Don't shrink to fit yourself into other people's molds of what you should be.
Dream big even when others tell you yours dreams are foolish. The best kind always are. Just ask those who followed them because they are the innovators, the creators, the inventors, and the artists.
Follow your convictions, your passions, your beliefs even if they are unpopular because life is ultimately not about popularity but about causing change, helping others, and seeing beauty in the world.
Have a servant's heart. Help others. See how much you can change the world around you just by putting someone else's needs first. Look for ways to help someone around you.
Know that I believe in you. I will cheer for you. I will listen to you. I will advise you. I will guide you. But, most of all, I will love you. You are my sons.