A Letter to Me: 10 Things I Want My Children to Know
About once a month I get on a country music kick. I am especially fond of Darius Rucker (thanks to my Hootie and the Blowfish roots from college) and Brad Paisley. One of my favorite songs by Paisley is the song, “Letter To Me.” The narrative of the song is that of an adult Paisley writing a letter to his much younger self and what he wished he knew growing up.
While we can’t write a letter to ourself in the past, we can “write a letter” to our kids and pass on our wisdom and lessons learned. Today is my attempt to “write a letter to me” (also known as my four sons), sharing some serious and some humorous wisdom with 10-year-old Scott.
1. Don’t Burn So Many Calories Trying To Be Cool. When I was 10 years old, my family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. In my old school in New Jersey, I was one of the cool kids. I listened to Lionel Richie and wore my plastic baseball helmets to school. When I moved to Pennsylvania, I quickly learned only weird kids listened to that kind of music and wore those kinds of hats! I so badly wanted to be in the cool group growing up. As an elementary school kid it wasn’t a huge deal. When I moved up to high school, my desire to be cool led me to do some stupid and illegal things, all because I wanted to fit in with a certain group and be perceived in a certain way. That never went well for me.
2. Don’t Be a People Pleaser, Craving for the Applause of Man. I remember getting in major trouble at Newtown Junior High. We had a French test and I happened to be “tres bien” (really good) at French. I took the midterm in first period and then proceeded to memorize the answers to the first 25 questions. As soon as I finished the test and turned in my paper, I wrote down the answers to these 25 questions and in the hallway between classes, passed them on to a few friends that I really wanted to like me. They passed them on to others, and by the time fourth and seventh periods rolled around, a bunch of kids in each class had a copy of my answers. Someone got caught and told on me and I proceeded to get called in to see the principal. I would have gotten an A+ on the test. Instead I got an F and got suspended, all because I wanted to please others and receive the applause of man.
Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
I’m glad I learned this lesson in junior high where I received mercy. I know if it was in college, I would have been kicked out.
3. Don’t buy baseball cards. You’ll waste a lot of money and they won’t be worth anything when you try to get rid of them.
4. I wished I paid closer attention in church. I was in church (sometimes) because my friends were there and because I liked one of the girls in my Sunday School Class. I wish I actually spent some time learning about Jesus. Who knows the amount of pain and dysfunction I could have avoided in high school, college and my young adult, pre-Jesus years.
5. No one wins in comparison. We all struggle with it. As adults we compare cars, homes, jobs, income and much more. It’s been famously said that comparison is the thief of all joy and that no one wins in the game of comparison. Whether I compared the size of our house, the type of clothes I wore, grades, athletic conquests or relationship stories, comparison is a game I always lost. In Luke 12:15, Jesus says, “…Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
6. Be thankful in all things. I wish I learned to be more thankful, to say thanks to others in advance, in the middle and afterwards. See 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
7. Porn is not worth it. I still remember the first time I saw “soft porn” and the first time I saw “hard core porn.” My life changed in both of those instances. I hated it. I so badly wish I never saw porn for so many reasons. And I pray my boys will not be consumed by it. My life was almost ruined because of my pornography addiction. Here are a couple of helpful verses for you and/or your kids to memorize.
Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
8. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. For years I didn’t like the way God made me. I didn’t like my body type. I didn’t like that I was able to grow a mustache and beard at age of 10 (not quite, but almost)! I didn’t like the way God made my nose and head and body type. I didn’t even believe in God growing up, but I hated whoever it was that made me look the way I looked. Read Psalm 139 and remind yourself how God made you.
9. You’re not going to be a professional baseball player. I wish I didn’t find my value in my athletic performance. Enjoy sports but don’t be obsessed with them! I got cut from the baseball team when I was a junior in high school and I still survived. Life is not over.
10. Enjoy time with your mom and dad. You never know how much time you have. My biological dad passed away when I was six, and my step-dad now has Alzheimer’s Disease and can’t carry on a conversation with anyone. On July 7, 2016, a friend of mine, who happened to be a husband and father, was one of the cops killed in Dallas, TX. Today may be your parent’s last day or your last day on earth. Love, hug and be kind to your mom and dad.
I know there’s a lot more than just these 10 things. I’m just getting warmed up! What would you tell your kids if you could write a letter to you? It’s time for me to sit down, hug my kids, tell them I love them and read them a “Letter to Me.”
For The Family,
Scott Kedersha, scottkedersha.com
Baseball/Pokemon cards. ha ha ha
Thank you for this list. My oldest two children are now in college and I have written individual letters to each of them (I have never received a response on these letters and I don’t know — if any — what kind of impact they may have had), but I felt led by God to share what I felt about each of them and some of the mistakes and experiences I had growing up that I prayed they might avoid or learn from.
Reading through your list, even to this day at 45 years of age I see how I compare myself to friends from college and high school I still stay in touch with. While everyone is entering that stage of midlife where they are now in “director” or “executive” positions making good money, my career journey has been one of many ugly starts and stops and I am currently in an entry-level position most people out of college could fill making the lowest salary I have had in 15 years. This cuts to the core for a man who wants so desperately to provide for his family and knows that his wife — who is a nurse and makes twice as much per paycheck he does — lacks respect and love for him and has watched his marriage fall apart and is barely on life support as we speak.
So yes, this list is good. I am a very emotional and sensitive man (also much to the chagrin of my wife) and like to journal and pass down my experiences to my children and other young people who have the opportunity to listen. That is one thing that is so missing in our society today is young people learning from the mistakes and being mentored by the older generations. I wish I had more men in my life who would have talked sense into me and my heart. I could have avoided so many pitfalls that the enemy has ensnared me in over the years!
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