A letter to my 14 year-old daughter: How not to lose yourself in two decades (Part 2)

9. Understand it’s ok to be different...In fact, it’s better!: 

Never give up your individuality to be part of a group that will sooner or later steal your individuality, mass-produce it, and claim it for their own. So you do Tea-Kwon-Do, like to wrestle and don’t do what other 14 year-olds do…so what? You’ve been different since you came out the womb! You were speaking three languages since you were six for God’s sakes. And guess what, I did it on purpose. I avoided the cliché cheerleader, princess mentality for a reason. That fits perfectly for some little girls. I knew very early on that it wouldn’t be you. When you were in my belly I decided that you would be a different type of person. When I saw you were a girl, I knew I would not raise you to fit into a specific mold. Your differences are what will get you to stand out from a crowd of millions when it is time to apply to those scholarships, those colleges, and those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. God set up your foundation, so I need you to follow through with it. Don’t change who you are to be a part of the crowd, or some knot-head boy’s life. Normal is not the business! Dare to be different...think differently! Will your uniqueness attract haters? Absolutely! And what? The success you’ll attract will be much more influential in the end. Who knows, you may come up with an invention that changes humanity! 

 

8. Say no to drugs:

 

I know it sounds like a bad Lifetime movie, but it is what it is. Alcohol is included. I don’t give two snips what everyone else is going to tell you, or how fun your friends and classmates will make it seem (and I’m not going to lie, sometimes it will be fun), but no amount of fun is worth being taken out of your element. And you NEVER want to be in a place where you lose control of yourself. It isn’t worth it. Will you experiment in your life? Even though I don’t want to, I know I should say absolutely. Hell, the first time I tasted alcohol was when your dad gave me and Auntie Shaalia a drink in AP Government class our senior year of high school. The second time was when I graduated college. I know... that’s extremely rare; I was a square. You may not turn out that way, and I honestly don’t need you to. I just need you to keep your eyes on the prize, and put safety first at all times. You can’t share everyone’s weed, you can’t smoke after everyone, and you can’t trust everyone’s drank. With that being said, until you can buy it yourself, I recommend you just say no.  

 7. Continue to be in love with school:

 And even when you aren’t, use it for your advantage, and as a means to an end. I honestly don’t expect anything out of you but straight A’s, because I know what you are capable of. Also know that I think of college as a job. Yes there are some people who will have to work and go to school at the same time. Your dad and I did it, and yes it was hard. But if you want to live the life of your dreams, obtain a degree.  When you start applying to colleges your senior year of school, you will be competing with millions of other students for just a few spots at any given university. Turn up in high school if you want…you will be turned away from those schools if you don’t watch yourself. Yes there are other things that can bring you success, but I promise you, after 12 years of teaching, I have never had a student come back and tell me, “Man, I wish I would’ve kicked it more in high school, failed those classes and never applied to college.” It has been the complete opposite, and those students that didn’t cared, cared once the real world slapped them in the face. Many of them, thank God, either went back to some type of school or joined the military, and found success. But 100% of them expressed that if they had the opportunity to do it over, they would’ve done it right the first time. You have the perfect opportunity…please take advantage of it!