As I work in a high school, and I am surrounded by balls of hormones, also known as teenagers, I am reminded of how different life is from when I too was a hormonally-charged and boy-crazy teen who worried too much about my weight and clothes and material things. It's a difficult stage in life, those teen years, and when you're in it, you're so wrapped up by it that it seems things will never change. But thank God, things do change and life gets better. Here are some things I wish I would have known back then. Of course if someone tried to tell me back then, I wouldn't have listened anyway. But maybe my daughter will take heed one day (hahahahahaha! if you know Maggie, you know she is waaaayyyyy too much like me). Without further ado....may I present notes to the teenage girl:
1) There are good guys out there. I promise you. Though you look around and see lots of boys with some not-so-moral things on their minds, one day you will meet some genuinely nice guys who share your sense of humor and morality. Men who love Jesus and wear scapulars and pray the Rosary. I did not believe any good men existed until I met tons of them at college, and married the bestest one.
2) Speaking of boys and morals....we females hold the key to what they want, and as long as we have made up our minds to live holy and chaste lives, then your boyfriend will rise to the occasion. If he doesn't respect your wishes, then he's a frog and not a prince, you don't even need to kiss him to find out. Just set him free and see rule #1.
3) Your parents actually do know everything. You think they know nothing, you even swear they are just trying to ruin your life! When in reality, they are just watching you make the same dumb mistakes they made and trying to shield you from the consequences they had to face. I remember when I was studying abroad in college and my parents came to visit me in Austria, and it struck me just how intelligent they were (especially when they were trying to give me boyfriend advice). Obviously it wasn't them who had changed, it was me, and you too will soon understand the love your parents have for you.
4) The clothes you wear, oh boy. If you don't want to be treated poorly, then stop dressing poorly. That sounds harsh, but your body is a gorgeous gift from God, to be given to your husband and respected by you in the meantime. Dressing modestly is beautiful. Teenagers especially don't want to be judged, so don't give anyone a reason to do it. We all jump to conclusions when we see a women dressed in a short and tight dress. How would you dress for an interview? Simply and modestly, right? Well, everyday is an interview for you. You are applying for friends, boyfriends, jobs, activities, colleges, sports, and you never know what door is going to open for you on what day. Dress smart.
5) Do you know that makeup is supposed to be worn to make you look like you are not wearing any? Makeup should be used sparingly to cover a problem area or accentuate your eyes or lips a little. You are young and have non-wrinkly skin and untouched hair...keep it that way for as long as possible. Don't ruin your hair by coloring it all the time and don't try to look older by wearing too much makeup or tanning. Once you actually are older, you'll be trying to do things in reverse so that you can look younger. And it's much easier to look younger when you've been treating your hair and skin well all your life.
6) Enjoy the stage of life that you are at currently. I spent my teenage years pining away for a husband and babies, and didn't take advantage of all that was associated with not yet being in that phase of life. All those mornings I could have slept in longer, relished some quiet time, studied something new, learned a hobby, or travelled at any chance I had, are now just missed opportunities. Don't get me wrong, being married and a mom are the greatest.things.ever, but you'll appreciate them even more when you've appreciated and taken full advantage of every day before you get to that point.
7) Love yourself. You can't truly love another without loving yourself first. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself". This doesn't mean being selfish and entitled. It means that you need to know thyself, appreciate what talents you have been given, and work on changing your vices. God has created you in HIS image and likeness, and He loves you so much. Just remember that when you think nobody else "gets" you.
8) You have a wonderful BFF that is at your side always, and you don't always remember him/her. It's your Guardian Angel. Say the Guardian Angel prayer every day and whenever you are scared or lonely, remember that your angel is right there! There have been times when I'm on a run and I get scared for a second, and I ask my Guardian Angel to protect me, and I feel much more calm. I wish I had thought to call on his strength and protection during all my teenage years.
9) These years can be an emotional rollercoaster. Your body is changing, your mind is growing, your friends are always coming and going, you are trying to discover who you want to be and what your core values are. Nothing needs to be solved in one day. Pray. Be patient. Believe you are worthy. "God does not call the qualified...He qualifies the called" so rely on His wisdom to give you all the grace you need.
10) We're all here for you. Your parents, your teachers, your guidance counselors, your coaches, your church members, your family all care and want the best for you. Keep the lines of communication open, and realize just how loved you truly are!