Dear Son Starting High School, I Promise You These Things for the Next Four Years
My dear son,
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that you are a freshman in high school. How on earth we got here so fast, I’ll never know.
You’re still my boy, you’ll always be. But every time I look at you, it seems you’re transforming into this young man. It’s happening right before my eyes. And I know how this next season will go. I am familiar with this critical transition because I lived through it with your older sister. I remember what a big deal this was for her and how hard and scary it was for me to let my little girl go.
Now I am feeling both anxious and excited for you to take these pivotal steps forward into your high school experience. These next four years will grow you like never before. They will go by so fast and before we know it, you’ll be graduating and on your way.
During high school, you will experience hard challenges and incredible accomplishments, tough times, and proud moments. These are the years that will prepare you for the rest of your life, while you learn more about who you are and what you want to be and where you want to go.
I’m so excited to watch you grow into the man you were born to become. And because I’m your mom and I love you so much, I’ll worry constantly about you too. You’ll be faced with so many decisions, and I can only hope and pray you will continue to make choices that are wise and responsible because I want you to be all you deserve to be.
I promise you these six things during your high school years. Although they will be hard promises to keep sometimes, I will do all I can to fulfill them, because you deserve the very best from me, now more than ever.
1. I promise to be there for you.
I promise that no matter what, I’ll be there for you. Always.
I’ll do all I can to show up at every game, every event, anywhere you want me to be. If something is important to you, then it’s important to me. I will cheer you on and support you in anything you do. I’ll be there for you when you’re stressed out with school, or anxious about big decisions you’ll certainly have to make. I’ll be there to help you sort through difficult issues you might have and any challenges you might face. I’ll be there for you when you fail, when you make mistakes, when you do stupid things, and have to suffer the consequences. I’m not going anywhere, ever. We are in this together and we will manage all the highs and lows, the triumphs, and the tough terrain together. My precious son, I will be there with you through it all.
2. I promise to listen to you.
I promise to be a good listener and not interrupt you with my own opinions before you are finished with yours. I promise to allow you to have a voice in this home and in your life. I know that the most important thing I can do to help you through any hard thing is to simply listen to you and make sure you feel heard, validated, and understood.
Please know you can come to me with anything, and I will listen first, always. You will be forced to face so many difficult decisions and feel pressure to make choices you know aren’t good and you’ll need strength and courage to do the right thing. Dear son, I know how hard it can be to talk about your problems, so please know I won’t judge you or condemn you for sharing your feelings, your struggles, your failures, your opinions. I will simply listen until you’re ready for me to speak.
3. I promise to be hard on you.
This may sound pretty awful, but during these years, you need accountability, stability, and discipline now more than ever. I will expect you to be responsible, respectful, and honest. I won’t settle for anything else. As you get older, the decisions you make can have serious consequences. I need to teach you the important life skills you will need before our time runs out. I will push you when you need to be pushed because I believe in your potential. I will also pull you back in when you’re working too hard or having too much fun and need your rest. We will expect you to honor our family’s principles and practices, no matter what other kids are doing. Our guidelines are created to help you stay safe and learn how to manage all the areas of your life well. You know we only want the best for you, and having a strict structured home will lay the groundwork for the rest of your life. You may not like it sometimes, but you’ll thank us someday.
4. I promise to trust you until you prove otherwise.
You are such a great kid. I’m so proud of the choices you’ve made and how you have been responsible with following our rules. I am so impressed with your character and values, your integrity, and your ability to discern right from wrong and act accordingly. Because of what I know about you now, I trust you completely. And as we go through these four years, I promise to continue to trust you with bigger things.
The older you get, the more freedom you’ll have and I will continue to trust you to do the right thing. I won’t be with you all the time. I won’t be able to watch over you the way I used to when you were younger. You will be on your own more and more, and I must trust you more and more too. And I promise I will, unless or until you prove otherwise. Then you will have to earn my trust back and that will take time and a whole lotta work on your part.
5. I promise to believe in you.
During these high school years, you will have so many opportunities to try new things and whatever you chose to pursue, I will always believe in you. I will believe that you can do anything you want to do. I will believe in all of who you are and all you want to be. I will believe in your hopes and dreams, and I will always believe that you will do your best, try your hardest, and use all the talents and skills you have. I will still believe in you when you make mistakes, struggle to succeed, get in trouble, or you’ve lost your way. If you ever give up on yourself, just know, I will never give up on you. I will believe in you until you do.
6. I promise to let go a little more every day.
Oh, sweet son, this is the hardest promise of all, because letting go is unnatural for any mom, especially anxious moms like me. I never want to let you go, but I know this is how it’s supposed to be. Every single time I loosen my grip, it will hurt, but I must for you to be able to grow. It will be hard wondering if you’re okay, if you’re safe, and if you’re making good decisions. I will miss your presence when you’re gone more and more, doing your own things. Soon you’ll be setting your own schedules and planning your days that will require little from me. My role will change throughout these years. You won’t need me as much, and that’s a really good thing. Your independence will grow while you take more steps farther away from me and I promise to let go a little bit more every day.
We are on the last winding road to our destination, and I see it far ahead, dimly flashing the hope of your future. These are the most important years before you are launched out into the world, and I promise you these things because I know they will help prepare you for a lifetime of success.