Today marked the occasion of my elementary school reunion. I sat in the gymnasium of my former school, packed in with tiny students holding signs saying “Yay Senoirs!” Needless to say, there were a lot of feelings in that gym. When I went up to tell about my favorite memory, all I wanted to do was offer advice to those kids sitting Indian-style on the floor. So, naturally, I felt the urge to put it in a blog post. Here’s what I would tell those kids if I had it all to do over again:
Surround yourself with people who treat you well and believe in you.
I really, really, really wish I would have followed this rule as a kid. I would have avoided all kinds of heart ache. It doesn’t matter who you are, you must choose a tribe of people who will support you at all times. It’s a choice.
Create your own opportunities.
How many times as a kid did I limit myself solely to the opportunities that were immediately available to me? As a child you have all the potential in the world between your fingertips. Take that energy and make something you love with it.
As I sat with people today, many who had left scars on my heart, I didn’t really think about that. Instead I was focused on getting to meet them in another light, and it’s kind of crazy. I may not like everyone, but I loved them enough to forgive.
Pray for your persecutors.
You will probably find yourself being the target of a bad joke, dirty move, or a gossip sesh. However, those who say things about you say a lot more about themselves. If you pray for those who hurt you, you may remember that they are God’s child, too. And even if they don’t know it, they could use some blessings.
Love your tribe.
You might have a recess tribe, lunch tribe, or homework tribe. But I promise if you love your tribe of those who love and believe in you, it will come full circle. Don’t let go of somebody who cares for you by being careless or lazy. And sometimes this means being uncomfy and telling them how you ~feel~. (Good or bad!)
Those are a few things I wish I could have told those innocent, sweet kiddos today. But as I sat there looking at their precious toothless smiles, listening to questions, and remembering when I sat in that gym, I realized that 1) they probably wouldn’t have the attention span, and 2) maybe these are things they need to learn for themselves.
What advice would you give to your elementary-aged self?