As the school year draws to a close, many students are bidding farewell to their academic journey, while others eagerly await their turn. Recently, my children had the privilege of having the same English teacher for their senior year, Mrs. Nieves. I was deeply moved by an assignment she extended to parents and family members, and I felt compelled to share it within our community. Today, I encourage you to consider joining me in writing a heartfelt letter to your child or a young person you hold dear.
In Act I, scene iii, in the captivating play, "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. There is a poignant encounter between Polonius and his son, Laertes, as they bid each other farewell before Laertes departs for school in France. During this meeting, Polonius imparts invaluable advice on how to navigate life, achieve success, and find happiness. Within these wise words, we find renowned phrases like "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" and "To thine own self be true." Such guidance carries profound meaning for young adults venturing into the world.
Embrace the Opportunity: Writing a letter to your child offers a remarkable chance to express your unwavering love, admiration, and belief in their potential. It's an opportunity to convey your wisdom, accumulated through the years, and guide them as they embark on their own journeys. In a world inundated with digital communication, a handwritten letter bears a timeless charm that will undoubtedly resonate with your child.
Choosing Words of Encouragement: As you begin crafting your letter, remember that its purpose is to uplift and motivate. Celebrate your child's achievements and acknowledge their unique strengths. Share anecdotes that illustrate moments of growth and resilience. Let them know that, above all, you believe in their abilities and capacity to shape their future.
Offering Advice: While the advice you provide may not hold the same weight as Polonius' words, it can still profoundly impact your child's life. Share practical insights from your own experiences, illustrating the lessons you've learned along the way. Encourage them to stay true to themselves, to embrace challenges, and to remain open to new possibilities. Remind them that mistakes are part of the journey and that they should never be afraid to pursue their dreams.
For the young person reading this who may never receive a letter like this, I want you to know that the words of encouragement within it are meant for you as well. Although I wrote this letter for my child, imagine that this letter was written specifically to you, be encouraged.
It is with a mix of gratitude and bittersweet emotions that I write this letter to you. I am grateful for the beautiful memories we have shared and saddened by the realization that this cherished chapter of our lives is coming to an end. As you prepare to embark on the next phase of your journey, I want to impart some words of wisdom. Given your deep connection to swimming, it seems fitting to use aquatic analogies. Before I do, however, I want to express how truly wonderful it has been to be your mother [?]. Your kind heart, dedication to serving others, strong work ethic, pursuit of excellence, and countless other qualities have filled my heart with joy and made me incredibly proud.
Streamline: Embrace simplicity in all aspects of life. Avoid clutter in your physical environment. Possessions that are unnecessary steal your time, requiring constant management and upkeep. They distract you from what truly matters. Invest in relationships, not material possessions. Your living space reflects who you are, so keep it organized and tidy. This will enhance your clarity and focus. Clutter only breeds anxiety, worry and stagnation.
Don't clutter your mind with fear and worry. Fill your thoughts with love, gratitude and hope. This will keep you grounded in the present. Worrying pulls you into the future, while regret keeps you in the past. Stay present and appreciate each moment as a precious gift. The present is all that truly exists. Avoid letting past experiences hinder new ones. Remember this truth: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)
Don't clutter your heart. It shapes your life. Be discerning about who and what you allow into your heart. Live with an open hand, my son [you]. Avoid clinging too tightly to people, achievements and possessions, for they are transient. Allow things to flow in and out of your life as gifts to be experienced, rather than possessions to be had. Keep your heart soft and resilient, even in the face of life's challenges. Each experience is an opportunity to grow in love. The more vulnerable and authentic you are, the more courageous you become, and the greater your capacity to love. Spreading love in the world is the greatest gift you can offer humanity.
Declutter your soul. Focus on who you are. Do not allow negativity to weigh you down. The world may try to define you by who you are not but focus on discovering who you truly are. Be kind to yourself and author your own story. You hold the pen and determine the narrative and tone. Never hand over your pen to anyone else unless you're willing to risk what they may write on the pages of your life. Remember, my son [you], you are a champion. Live your life backward. Believe that you are already enough. Let all your choices reflect the triumphant ending you desire. Many suffer in our world because they don't realize they are loved and enough. As you embark on your journey, hold onto this truth with unwavering conviction. Refuse to let others define your worth and answer the fundamental question, "Am I enough?" Only you have the power to affirm your own value and embrace the fact that you are more than enough. Trust in yourself and never allow anyone else to determine your self-worth.
Free yourself from shame. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden teaches us the profound lesson of shame. There may be moments when you question if God has your best interests at heart. You may doubt your inner voice and test boundaries and commandments. You may even make mistakes and do things you never thought you would—take Adam and Eve as an example. If this happens, do not hide in shame and guilt, creating your own coverings. Do not turn away from the presence of God in your life. God is greater than your mistakes, and often, your mess becomes your message. You may make mistakes, but you are not a mistake. Nothing you do can separate you from God's love or the love of your family. We love you unconditionally. There is no need to hide from anything, my son [you]. Stay connected to your community. Isolation was never God's plan, never go into hiding. We are designed to thrive in relationships. Surround yourself with genuine friendships. Remember the saying, "Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future."
Finally, remember the lessons you have learned from swimming. You are not competing against others; you are competing against time. This holds true for all humanity. There is a clock ticking, and how we utilize our time is of utmost importance. Avoid wasting your time on negative experiences. Seek out high-frequency people and environments—spaces and individuals filled with gratitude.
Make every moment count. Embrace each day as a precious gift, and you will never be disappointed with the outcome. Additionally, be mindful that those you love are also racing against time. Don't miss opportunities to create lasting memories and maintain strong connections with them. In the end, when you reflect on your "race," it is the relationships along the way that you will remember most.
As Proverbs 19:21 tells us, "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Trust in this truth. The story has already been written. Enjoy the ride.
I am incredibly proud of you, and you are loved.
With all my love,
[You decide the name]