So, this week one of my little brothers turned 13. He is the first of my three younger brothers to become a teenager. Besides the fact that it's kind of terrifying that our house now holds three teenagers, it's also super exciting to see my little brother grow up and turn into a pretty impressive young man. While I know that my brother is currently pretty sure that he knows just about everything, there is a few things I think he needs to know.
1. You will never be "too cool" to spend time with your family.
It's easy to get caught up in wanting to hang out with friends and do all the fun stuff available to you, but it is important to not forget to spend time with your family too. A lot of the friends you may hang out with now probably won't be your friends by the time you go to college, but your family will always be your family so don't miss out on time with them. If you spend every weekend with your friends, you'll soon realize you've missed all kinds of fun memories that the rest of the family will be talking about for years. Even though the family may be super annoying sometimes, they've been there for you for the last 13 years and they'll be there for many, many more.
2. Always hug Mom.
While you definitely haven't reached this point yet, I know a fair amount of teenage boys who seem to think that hugging their mom is the equivalent to social suicide. Honestly, no one cares. So always hug Mom, even in front of your friends, because the only one who cares is Mom and she's going to appreciate it. If any of your friends give you heck, they're probably not worth being friends with. In addition to hugging, this also includes talking to and generally acknowledging the presence of Mom (and family members in general).
3. You can definitely overcome any mistake you make in the next few years.
Some times it's going to seem like you've made a mistake you can never overcome, but it really will be okay. I've made lots of mistakes, but I'm still alive and while I lost a few friends over the years, the ones who were truly my friends are still by my side. The mistakes you make are going to help you truly appreciate all the good times that you do have during your teen years.
4. Never forget to respect people around you.
This goes for everyone around you. Everyone. I cannot stress this enough. No matter how old you get, no matter where you go in life, no one will ever be worth less than you and I expect you to always treat them as your equal. It's easy to get caught up in the jokes or disrespectful comments of other people, but you need to remember how you were raised and how you want to be treated. You're going to go much farther and make much stronger friendships based on respect than by being rude and close-minded.