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A Letter to My Niece
Happy Birthday, Miss 15! It seems such a short time ago that you were a baby sitting on my lap. You're nearly all grown up now, and I want you to know that I love you and admire the strong and beautiful young woman you've become.
Being a teen is hard, and I think it's especially hard on sensitive souls like you. Because you're so intelligent, people might expect you to always act more maturely than other kids your age. You're also allowed a lot of freedom. You should be careful not to abuse that trust. Unfortunately, even the smartest of us can make stupid mistakes when we are young. Please use your head and don't get carried away by what the in crowd is doing, and remember that if your friends are doing something that they're not really old enough to do, you are even younger. Here are a few rules that can help you negotiate these difficult transition years, when you are no longer a child but not quite an adult.
1.Please don't ever get in a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. Call home, or take a cab. It could save your life.
2.Experimenting with illegal drugs can kill you. Don't do them. It only takes one incident to end your life.
3.Don't ever have sex with someone you don't love.
4.As with drugs, just one incident of unprotected sex can be enough to end or permanently affect your life. You could get an incurable illness, or get pregnant.
5.Alcohol can impair judgment. Anything can happen if you relinquish control.
6.If you get depressed, call on me or someone else you feel comfortable talking to. The pain of depression doesn't last forever, and there are many people in your life who love you and want to support you.
7.Sometimes schoolwork seems meaningless, but you have to stay focused on the big picture. Playing the good grades game will provide more choices for you when you are ready to apply to college. Do the assignments, even if they are boring.
If you keep focused on your goals, I'm sure you'll continue to do well. Think about what you want to do and then we'll figure out how to get you there. It isn't always easy to plan ahead, but you have people willing to help or just to listen.
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