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Advice for My Daughter as She Moves On to Middle School



The following is an excerpt from a letter that I wrote to my daughter for her last day of 5th grade. Perhaps the advice I offer will prove helpful to another child in the same situation. Begin excerpts:

...I want to first of all congratulate you on making it through the first six years (remember kindergarten!) of your "educational journey." I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you...not just because of your accomplishments and your passion for learning, but because of the compassionate and good-natured traits you continue to demonstrate on an almost daily basis.

...I consistently hear from your teachers about how "wonderful" you are to have as a student...and it's clear to me that they really mean it when they say it. It also brings a big smile to my face when I hear such comments.

Every parent dreams of raising a happy, healthy, well-behaved, intelligent, and morally sound child. You've afforded me that opportunity and made that dream come true for me. I couldn't be more grateful for that.

Next year, you will be in a bigger (and more crowded) school with lots of kids that will be older (but not necessarily wiser). It's my hope that despite your new surroundings you will stay true to who you are and continue to be the wonderful and delightful person you've grown to become.

With regards to your new school, the best advice I can give you is this:

1.Obviously, being in a new school means you are certain to meet new friends. Be selective with who you choose as your friends because they will ultimately influence who you become. Stay away from negative influences. Don't associate with toxic people or try too hard to be a part of the "wrong" crowd or the so-called "in" crowd." Toxic people will only drag you down with them and they aren't worth your time or energy. Again, choose your friends wisely.
2.Continue to be the compassionate and endearing girl you have become, even if it doesn't make you "popular." Being a compassionate and endearing individual will help you later in life...being "popular" will not.
3.Work hard but have fun...and know the right time to do each.
4.Accept the fact that you aren't perfect. You will have struggles and you will likely fail at times. What matters most is how you handle those bumps in the road. Some of the most successful people of our times failed over and over again before they found their success. It's better to try and fail than it is to not even try in the first place.
5.Stand up for yourself. People may test you, target you, or even attempt to bully you because of their own shortcomings. People that act as such typically do so because they are jealous or they are simply miserable and want you to feel the same way. Don't allow them to rope you in or drag you down. Name-calling (and swearing, for that matter) is for people that aren't intelligent enough to express themselves in a more dignified manner. Avoid stooping to that level.
6.Never be afraid to ask for help or advice. We all need it at times and there's nothing wrong with seeking it out.
7.A healthy body will do you good. A healthy mind will do you better. Strive for both.
8.When life gets you down remember that those feelings are only temporary. Each day brings new opportunities, new experiences, and often a new perspective.


I'm sure there's plenty more advice I could give you but I will spare you and save the rest for when it is actually needed or asked for.

You've made it this far and I know you will succeed at the next level (middle school) and even far beyond that. The sky is the limit for you. Your positive attitude, energy, and zest for life are undeniable...don't ever lose that. Again, I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work!

I Love You!

Dad

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