Anyway, back on track...Both of these publications have been spending a great deal of ink highlighting the current rising trend of teenage suicide as a result of bullying. Oh, how my heart breaks when I read this. We have all been teenagers caught up in the heat of the moment never knowing when the tide is going to rise or fall.
I have four boys in my home that will all be in their teenage years at one time starting about 5 years from now. If only I could repeat the same things to them every morning as they walk down the stairs to scarf down some sort of cereal and run out the door to school. By doing this, maybe I can protect their precious little souls from self-doubt or physical injuries from those around them. This is what I would say...
Good morning my dear child.
One day, you will no longer be a small child that I can protect. You will grow from a Curlee boy into the beginnings of a Curlee man. You will need to discover the world on your own. I will need to let you go out into the world to find your way and see what life has to offer you.
But, before you go, please consider these words...you are loved unconditionally by your father and me. Unconditionally means that there are no words or actions that can make us stop loving you with our whole heart. We will never turn our back on you, regardless of what you say or do. The most important thing to us is you and your well-being.
You will certainly find yourself in areas of distress for some reason or another throughout your adolescence and adulthood. We all have at one time or another. Not one adult around you has gotten to where they are in their life without traveling through a rock-bottom valley in search of life's meaning. Remember, we ALL make mistakes. It is the lessons we learn from these mistakes that mean the most. Don't let your mistakes define you. Don't let hateful words define you; you are so much more than a word. Don't get bogged down in what could have been. Strive for what can be...and follow that dream to the end.
On our refrigerator, we have our house rules...
Always be honest.
Count your blessings.
Bear each others burdens.
Forgive and forget.
Be kind and tender hearted.
Comfort one another.
Keep your promises.
Be supportive of one another.
Be true to each other.
Treat each other like you treat your friends.
And most importantly, LOVE one another deeply from the heart.
These rules did not just happen to find their way to our fridge by accident. No, just the opposite. I searched for rules for our family that would characterize who we are and how we are supposed to act and treat one another. But, these rules were not meant to pertain only to the Curlee Hairs. Just the opposite...I want you to remember them always and carry them with you out into the world. I want every action to be driven by the words...LOVE deeply from the heart. If your heart is driving your words, thoughts, emotions, and actions, you can never go wrong.
Oh, I know that you will be wronged and do others wrong throughout your life. We all have. But, to bear these mistakes and make amends for them is how you show love to one another. It is the stuff that character is made of. Hate and contempt can be so easy to fall back on, but it is putting the love out there that takes work. Choose the love over the hate. You will never regret that choice...ever!
Matthew 5: 44 ~ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Each time you feel hatred or anger for another person, pray for their life, their well-being, their happiness. It is not possible to hate another person in the presence of God. Let go of the anger that will encompass your whole being, and watch how God can work in your life. This is of the utmost importance in being a man of character.
As you have grown and started school, I have repeatedly told you how easy it is to try harder on your next spelling test, play a little bit better in the next football game, run faster when racing your brother, but you can't ever have a second chance to erase unkindness to one another. Sure, you will be given a chance to say your sorry, but you cannot erase the actions or words that you put out in the world. You must always be a little kinder than necessary...it never hurts, and usually will help!
If throughout your young-adulthood, you find yourself lost or confused seek someone out. I would hope it would be your father or me, but I am also realistic to know that it won't always be us that you turn to for help. If not us, then someone. Don't try to take the world on alone. Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Borrow wisdom from another...it's not plagiarism. Find someone you can trust...or better yet, someone that we trust. Consider them a mentor. Bounce ideas off of them. Listen to their thoughts...and then, follow your own heart.
Throughout my life and your father's life, we have not always been the winners and not always the losers. We are usually somewhere in between the two. It is okay not to always be the most successful...just do your best...that will always be enough for us. We trust you. We love you. We always want the best for you.
Don't ever give up. Don't ever think that suicide is an answer to any problem you have. You may think that whatever has occurred, will ruin your life. I am here to tell you it won't. It might change your life greatly, but you can always be a glory to God. You will come out on the other side, and we will help you to find your way. Trust our love. Trust your gut. Trust in God. Trust in kindness. And most importantly, LOVE one another deeply from the heart. Let love lead the way for you. Don't let someone else define who you are. Let your character define who you are.
You are the last thing I think of when I go to sleep at night and the first thing when I wake up in the morning.
What do you say, think I'll have time to get all that in every morning over a light breakfast of cereal? Oh, how I wish I could say that to all of my boys every day and see if it delivers us to a better place on the other side of this scary place called "adolescence"!