Thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thir-teen… please don’t make my little boy a man

Wells turned thirteen at the end of April. I know, I know. I haven’t posted about him here in a while so he’s only like 9 in blog years. Heck, I live with him and it snuck up on me. I wrote the list below and gave him a copy on his birthday. He told me it was his favorite gift. That is not really saying much. The other gift was a monogrammed bag and matching dopp kit. When he opened it he said, “It is just what EVERY thirteen year old boy wants… a duffle bag!” Maybe my next post should be a gift guide.

Thirteen Things You Should Know About Being a Teenager

1. Jesus loves you… and you need to love him back. Read your Bible. Pray… and not just when you need something. Thank God daily for the awesome life he has given you and all your blessings. When you are dancing with a girl, leave space for the Holy Spirit. Make good choices. You can do things the hard way or the easy way. Following Jesus is the easy way.

2. You only have one body and it’s on you to take care of it. Take a shower every day. Brush your teeth and floss the ones you’d like to keep. Always wear deodorant but stay away from Axe body spray. Eat lots of vegetables and drink plenty of water. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Always wear your seatbelt, it isn’t optional. Do not speed. Don’t text and drive. Never get into a car driven by someone who is intoxicated.

3. Be kind to other people. Take a stand if you see someone being treated unfairly. Be nice to the person who messes up your order. Put other people’s feelings ahead of your own. One of the greatest joys in life is helping others. Decide what you can do to help and get started now.

4. People will pressure you to do things you know aren’t right. They will say lame things like, “You would if you were my friend.” Or the classic, don’t be such a wimp or baby or whatever else teens call each other to be mean. Please don’t care what other people think. Unless your parents are the “other people,” in which case, care. The opinions of people who don’t love or care for you do not matter. Also, people who pressure others to do bad things usually end up in jail.

5. Vaping is not cool. Vaping is not safe. Inhaling coconut vanilla scented chemicals might seem like a good idea now, but so did frying in a tanning bed in 1995. I won’t even mention smoking or drugs because I know you aren’t stupid.

6. The internet is forever. Don’t send anyone anything you wouldn’t want posted on the front page of the newspaper. But social media seems harmless! And Snapchat filters are fun! Just know, any photo you send can be screenshot and distributed via group text to everyone you know INCLUDING YOUR MAMA.

7. You don’t know everything. Your parents are not dumb. You will miss living here one day.

8. The legal drinking age is 21. The teenage years are one of the most important times for brain development and alcohol consumption can have a damaging impact. Like irreversible damage. TO YOUR BRAIN. Go ahead and decide what to say when someone offers it to you. Because they will.

9. You must work hard for what you want. You don’t just get things because you think you are entitled. You want to go to a good college? Study and make good grades. Want to be great at basketball? Practice. Want to buy your mother an amazing gift? Ask your Daddy for a loan.

10. You will have many different friends, but you only have one family. Spend time with us. Be considerate and respectful. Always be honest with us and know that you can tell us anything. Love us and let us love you… because we do. And we always will. Also, be nice to your brother because he may be bigger than you one day.

11. Just be a good person. Have a good attitude. Do the right thing. Look people in the eye when they are talking to you. Say yes ma’am and no ma’am. Don’t talk during church. Or interrupt when others are talking. Respect your elders. Use your blinkers. Don’t honk at the person in front of you when the light turns green. Don’t think your time is more valuable than others. Return your grocery buggy. DO NOT park in spots reserved for disabled people. Always tip your waiter. Never listen to Nickelback.

12. You need to put the iPhone down. Have actual conversations with people. Go outside. Look at the sunset. Read books. You live in a magical, beautiful world but you will need to look up to enjoy it. You are a smart, handsome, talented and funny guy. Don’t let technology suck the life out of you.

13. There is always hope. People say and do mean things. Life can be disappointing. No matter how upset, sad, alone or depressed you feel, know we are always here for you. Things that are important to you now, won’t be so important when you look back. Trust me, I know. I was thirteen once.

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  1. I love this! I have an 11.5 year old and you said everything I feel and hope for him. Happy birthday to your Wells and it’s so nice to see your annual blog post . Your posts have been missed!

  2. First: I’m so glad to see you blogging! You turn a phrase like nobody’s business.
    Second: This post is so good, I might cry!! I think it applies for all of us, even those who might be a minute past 13 — I say as I look in the mirror 😉


  3. OH, SO GOOD! Love this! And yes, you can turn a phrase. All so well said. Way to go, Momma.