ACTION CHANGES THINGS F BEF

Letter to My Granddaughter

My granddaughter turned 13 recently. The age 13 stirred up memories of situations I had to deal with at 13, situations that no 13-year-old girl should have to deal with. I wondered how she would respond if faced with similar situations. I wrote her this letter, and tucked it inside her gift. The gift included two books, because she loves to read. 1. What Daddy Never Told His Little Girl. 2. Sex Has a Price Tag: Discussions about Sexuality, Spirituality, and Self-respect.

One of my granddaughters turned 13 recently. She’s taller than me. Even though she’s big enough to be an adult, she’s still got an innocence about her (as she should). But I don’t believe she’s could deal with some of the life-changing events that can happen to girls. The types of things that happened to me at 13. The types of things that happened to a lot of women when they were in that age range.

She spends time in my home along with other grandchildren. During those times, I would retreat to my bedroom because my introvert personality needed to give them space to be children separate from my space. I was basically that unseen force that only showed up to make sure they had plenty to eat or when it sounded like things were getting out of hand. So we’re not real close–the kind of close where we do things together and talk about everything.

Even so, I still feel compelled to reach out and wrap my arms around her and protect her from the mess that life can throw at girls, from being taken advantage of. But, wrapping my arms around her will not protect her when she’s walking to/from the school bus. Wrapping my arms around her will not protect her if she gets hemmed up in a school bathroom by some boy(s). Wrapping my arms around her will not protect her if some family member forces himself on her. Wrapping my arms around her will not protect her if a man makes her young 13-year-old mind feel wanted and loved in response to his lust. Wrapping my arms around her won’t protect her from her own naive decisions. Wrapping my arms around her won’t protect her at all because I have to let go.

The only way to truly come close to protecting her is to equip her with a toolbox full of knowledge. Knowledge won’t stop bad things from happening, but knowledge will help avoid risky decisions, equip her response, and hopefully protect her mental/emotional health.

So I decided that even though we’re not close, I can try and raise her level of consciousness about life. “Knowledge is power” is not a cliché. It’s truth. What I’ve learned is the most devastating things that happen to us in life are things we never thought of, and we had no idea how to respond. Basically, a lack of preparation. So, what do I tell a 13-year-old girl and how?

At 13, peers are probably the greatest challenge. I ask myself if she’s a follower or a leader? I don’t know, but I want her to be a leader. In order for her to be a leader, she has to think like a leader. In my opinion, a good leader is humble and gains knowledge that helps them grow. So my first letter of advice will include guiding her toward seeking knowledge and learning from mistakes.

Advice for Life #1: Seek knowledge from people who are successful at _____.

Fill in the blank with things you want to be successful at.  Don’t try to work through difficult situations on your own. Talk to adults and do your research to find credible sources of information.

Don’t let people pressure you into anything. (Keep in mind that others your age are learning just like you are, and they don’t know any more than you do, even if they act like they do.)

Pray about everything. Proverbs 3:5-6.Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Advice for Life #2: Never make the same mistake twice.

The first time is meant to teach you a lesson. So, every time you make a mistake, ask yourself, “What’s the lesson?” Making mistakes does not make you a failure. Learning from your mistakes is how you grow/mature.

I can’t cram a lifetime of learning into one letter, but I can begin with one letter. I tucked it in a book that I gave her for her birthday. Maybe I’ll write one to her every year for her birthday.

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