As the school year ends, I want you to know I’m so proud of you.
This has not been an easy year. It has been long and hard and exhausting, frustrating and isolating and depressing.
You have been through so much and I know you’ve been forced to manage so many new things. There was nothing normal about this year, and you handled the stress and strain of it all so well. I’m amazed at your patience, your strength, and your ability to adapt and adjust to all the changes that took place. No matter how difficult it was for you, you accepted the reality of living in these tumultuous times and did your very best to push through. This year more than ever, I want you to know how very proud I am of you.
I know you had no choice, trying to figure out every detail of the countless ever-changing rules and regulations, policies and cancelations, when it came to doing ANYTHING: Every. Single. Day. This is no easy feat for anyone, but being a teen is already so hard, and adding all the pressure and questions to your already confusing world must have been exhausting and maddening. The chaos of the endless fluctuating circumstances kept you wondering and worrying, irritated, and constantly on edge, not knowing what will come next or what laid ahead.
And on top of everything you had to endure, it was all so scary to live in a world full of fear and heartache, devastation and tragedy, seeing so many lives taken from this horrific virus and not knowing if or when the people you loved would get sick, or possibly pass away. I’m so proud of you for handling all those powerful emotions on top of the ones you already have that come with raging hormones and allthethings teens muddle through at your age.
You persevered through long hours of virtual school while being stuck at home staring at a screen for hours on end, attempting to navigate your education through all the challenges of learning online. This was so new and different and confusing and hard, and yet you pushed through as best as you knew how to maintain your grades and I’m so proud of you for trying and not giving up. Those were long days that grew into long weeks that unfolded into long months, and I’m so proud of your perseverance and patience, and ongoing effort, keeping up with it all.
There were countless limitations put on you, taking away so many experiences you deserved to have. So many extra-curricular activities were canceled, and so many special events were too. You never had much of a social life or the opportunities to train or rehearse or compete or participate fully in much of anything at all.
I know you feel the loss of those experiences, I know you wish you could get them back somehow. That in some way, you could get a re-do of this year, so you could enjoy and embrace all those exciting moments you were looking forward to having, doing things you love to do, and trying new things too.
But you’ll never get this year back, and I can only imagine how you feel about losing so much of your life this year.
I’m so proud of how well you accepted it all, despite your sadness and frustration. I’m so proud of how you were able to figure out some new ways to connect with your friends and find some new things to enjoy while living under such limiting conditions.
And as things begin to look hopeful, and you start slowly regaining your life back, I am excited to watch you grow in so many new ways and find fulfillment in all you will be able to do. As hard as it’s been for you, it’s also been so difficult for me to watch you lose so much because I want more than anything, for you to have a full, active, meaningful, purposeful, and nourishing life.
These are the years when you should have been discovering who you are and learning about all your strengths and skills and weaknesses. These are the years when you should have been figuring out things you love to do and trying new things. These are the years you are going through the stressful process of finding true friends and keeping the ones you know you can trust. These are the years when you should have been choosing the building blocks of your identity and creating bits and pieces of budding dreams that will slowly emerge in your future. It all transpires through the messy, fun, confusing, chaotic, scary, and slow-learning season of living through these teenage years.
This is a critical time in your development, and I know you need the chance to flourish and find out all you were created to be.
It’s nearly impossible to do that in captivity.
But you still grew in new ways and matured so much by developing many new skills. You still continued to transform into such a strong soul, and I am amazed by all you’ve accomplished and how much you have grown.
So, as we finish this year, we can look to the next with exciting anticipation for you to restore and recover those areas of your life that will eventually define so many aspects of who you are and lay the foundation down for who you will grow up to be. I can’t wait to watch you soar on the wings of freedom where you can finally live a normal life again.
But for now, I want you to know I am so very proud of how far you’ve come, in the midst of such a difficult year.