Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear Anna: Advice for an 11 year old girl

One of my dear little friends asked that I write her a letter for her confirmation. This is the letter I wrote for her. I think at 11 years old, it's advice that won't sink in right away, but I hope it's something she can look back on one day.

Dear Anna,

I'm sitting here at my mom's house staring at a piece of paper with instructions about what I'm suppose to write about here: what do I think about you? what advice about life can I give you? and what do I want for you when you grow up. The big questions. My advice to you is simple enough, and I think it's the best advice I can give--be yourself. Yet I think it's also the hardest advice to take at your age. As you grow up, as you go through middle school, high school and beyond the temptation to be someone else will be great. You are young at a time when it's great to be young, but it's also an incredibly hard time to be your age. The pressure to be someone or something else comes from so many different directions now, it has to be overwhelming. There will always be that pressure on you to be cooler, smarter, prettier, etc. There will always be people that will make you feel as though you are never good enough.

I want you to remember (and take this letter as proof) that you are good enough. You and I have been friends for a long time now. The age difference is big, and we are not related to each other. There is no one that makes me hang out with you at family functions because "we're family." I am your friend because I think you are an amazing person just as you are. Remember that. You are great just as you are. You are good and kind and extremely generous. You are so sweet and patient with little kids. There are people in your life who choose to be in your life because they recognize that. If someone makes you feel anything less than that, they don't deserve to be in your life. Keep close to those who like you for you--those that see the good in your and love you for who you are for and despite your quirks.

So be yourself, and be true to yourself even when it is hard, and the pressure to change for others feels overwhelming. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, everyone does, but if you are true to yourself the impact of those mistakes will be less harmful to who you are.

Be confident in who you are. Be good to who you are, and continue be the person that so many of us love so much.

Lots of love,

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