This post was originally posted on my old blog, Author Number One Thousand, on August 15, 2015.
A while back, blogger Emily Hathaway wrote this post called “Please, Tell Your Laurels.” (Parts One and Two). It’s a great post filled with really good advice for Laurels, and all Young Women. This post, along with some recent experiences of mine, got me thinking about some of the things I wish I could tell some of the sweet Beehives I know, especially my wonderful little sister. Things I wish that I had known a little better when I was a Beehive. So here it goes…
- “Bee” Kind.
First of all, take a moment to appreciate that wonderful pun. Second of all: I know you all have
hearts that are filled with sincere kindness for one another. You’d do just about anything for your friends. Just don’t forget it. I get it. It’s Junior High. There’s draaaama. But don’t let it distract you from the things that actually matter. You’re all starting to figure out who you are and sometimes that makes people change. Friends are going to change. Try to be understanding and know that everyone is going through the same thing that you are.
Remember that you are all spirit daughters of God. This means that each of your spirits—that each of you—possess divine qualities. These are the qualities that make you more like your Father in Heaven. Exercise these qualities, not the qualities of the natural man, who “is an enemy to God.” (Mosiah 3:19). So no more gossiping. No more backbiting. Opposite of the wonderful qualities that you possess, you can also have those qualities that take you farther from Heaven if you let yourself. Instead, just be kind.
- Know Who the “Cool Kids” Really Are.
I love cute clothes as much as the next girl. Actually, I’m pretty sure there are some of you who love clothes way more than I do. And that is totally fine! I also know there are some of you who couldn’t care less one way or the other, and that’s okay too! Whichever one you are, run with it and don’t be ashamed! You’re going to have friends who shop at Forever 21 and you’re going to have friends who shop at Deseret Industries. (I shop at both, myself.) I think we’re all old enough to realize by now that we are not defined by the clothes that we wear, right? Cool clothes don’t make the “cool kid.”
The really cool kids aren’t always the kids with the cutest clothes, but they are always the kids that will “stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). It’s okay to enjoy having a little attention every once in a while and it’s certainly okay to want to have friends, but ask yourself this first: Is popularity more important than purity? Don’t compromise your standards to gain popularity or even just acceptance. Don’t compromise your standards, period. I’m not going to lie and say that you’ll never be ridiculed for doing what is right rather than what’s popular. That’s part of the job description for being a Christian. However, you might not be just as “unpopular” as you thought. You can be both righteous and “popular” sometimes. But remember in Whose Eyes you are truly seeking approval. The blessings that God promises to those who are faithful are far greater than any worldly attention you may gain.
Also, take a look at D&C 3:6-8 and this article from the New Era: http://bit.ly/1L899gY .
- Families are Forever
You may have heard the point that “friends come and go, but families are forever.” Well, it’s the truth. Good friendships are important, and no one is saying that just because friends come and go that they’re disposable. We know from the prophet Joseph Smith that the associations we have with people in this life will exist in the next life. However, you are only sealed to your family. So keep them close. I am aware that not every family situation is the same or ideal. Our prophet and apostles have addressed this in much better ways than I can, so please look to their council and guidance above all others. What I will say, though, is that whatever family you have, stay close to them.
You’re teenagers, right? Or if you aren’t a teenager now, then you will be soon. Teenagers have a reputation for being moody and thinking that their families are weird—especially when it comes to their parents. I’m willing to bet that this is true…hmm…93% of the time. I would know because I’m still a teenager too! I definitely get like this. What I’m starting to realize is that I don’t have to be like this, that I don’t like being like this, and I wish that I had been less like this when I was your age. (I sure hope you girls are listening because I know my mom is going to use all of this against me the next time I’m cranky and I’m on my period.)
The truth is: your family is weird. But do you know what that means? You’re weird too! So embrace it. Believe me; the day when you turn eighteen and move off to college or wherever is coming fast enough. Try to make it so that when that day gets here you’re standing in the doorway giving your mom and dad a hug instead of pulling out of the driveway as fast as you can. I’m not saying you should stay home instead of go out every time your friends want to go to the movies. I’m just saying that maybe you can stand to play a game of Uno Attack with the fam instead of locking yourself in your room, and maybe it wouldn’t kill you to not slam the car door and roll your eyes when Mom drops you off at school.
Families are wonderful things. They’re one of God’s greatest gifts to us. In fact, family is central to His Eternal Plan of Happiness for us. So it’s okay to smile about it.
- You Are Not Alone!
Perhaps the hardest part of 7th grade is struggling to fit in. Fear not: God is looking out for you. Not only did He provide us with the wonderful gift of families, but He also gave us His Son. Christ knows what it is like to be alone. He lived a life on earth where He and his teachings were rejected time and time again. When He suffered in the garden of Gethsemane, He did so alone. But just like God sent an angel to comfort His Only Begotten Son, He is sending angels to comfort you. There are so many people who love and care about you: Most of all, your Father in Heaven and your Savior, also, your family, your Young Women’s leaders, and your classmates and friends.
Sometimes it may seem like you don’t have any friends when you don’t belong to a tight circle of friends. Let me assure you that, just as you may be feeling alone, there are others who feel just as lonely as you do. And, just like you’re not going around advertising it, neither are they. So, watch and pray. Pray to know who you can be a friend to then watch for those people around you who need a friend and your prayers will be answered. You can’t go wrong when you prayerfully go about trying to serve others. Let me give you a little bit of tough-love with this advice: reaching out to others feels so much better than feeling sorry for yourself!
Last of all and most of all:
- Read Your Scriptures and Love Them!
I didn’t develop a deep testimony and love for the scriptures until after I started high school. I will always wish that I had found it sooner. The scriptures are the source of all truth, and who wouldn’t want that? Especially The Book of Mormon, which is the truest book on the Earth. I know it was written for our day and it is for everyone. It is for you! The truths found in that book, coupled with the promptings of the Holy Ghost, will give you much better advice than any Laurel can. Read it and find out. Keep the things that you learn close to your heart.
You girls are great. You’re doing great things. So just keep living the gospel like you are. It also wouldn’t hurt to remember these tips: be kind, be cool, be nice to your family, reach out to others, and read your scriptures. 🙂
A Loving Laurel ❤