UPDATE: Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls is going to be a book! Three "Ten Things" books are slated to be released September 2014 from Broadman & Holman Publishers (LifeWay Christian Resources). Official announcement is here. Get excited!
1. If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys. To be more specific, you will attract the kind of boys that like to look down girls' shirts. If you want to date a guy who likes to look at other girls' boobs and chase skirts, then great job; keep it up. If you don't want to date a guy who ogles at the breasts of other women, then maybe you should stop offering your own breasts up for the ogling. All attention is not equal. You think you want attention, but you don't. You want respect. All attention is not equal.
2. Don't go to the tanning bed. You'll thank me when you go to your high school reunion and you look like you've been airbrushed and then photoshopped compared to the tanning bed train wrecks formerly known as classmates - well, at least next to the ones that haven't died from skin cancer.
3. When you talk about your friends "anonymously" on Facebook, we know exactly who you're talking about. People are smarter than you think they are. Stop posting passive-aggressive statuses about the myriad of ways your friends disappoint you.
4. Newsflash: the number of times you say "I hate drama" is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama. Non-dramatic people don't feel the need to discuss all the drama they didn't start and aren't involved in.
5. "Follow your heart" is probably the worst advice ever.
6. Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being. Emotion is good; it is nothing to be ashamed of. Emotion makes us better - so long as it remains in it's proper place: subject to truth and reason.
7. Smoking is not cool.
8. Stop saying things like, "I don't care what anyone thinks about me." First of all, that's not true. And second of all, if it is true, you need a perspective shift. Your reputation matters - greatly. You should care what people think of you.
9. Don't play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention. Don't pretend something is too heavy so that a boy will carry it for you. Don't play dumb to stroke someone's ego. Don't bat your eyelashes in exchange for attention and expect to be taken seriously, ever. You can't have it both ways. Either you show the world that you have a brain and passions and skills, or you don't. There are no damsels in distress managing corporations, running countries, or managing households. The minute you start batting eyelashes, eyelashes is all you've got.
10. You are beautiful. You are enough. The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough. You are not thin enough. You are not tan enough. You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough. Your teeth are not white enough. Your legs are not long enough. Your clothes are not stylish enough. You are not educated enough. You don't have enough experience. You are not creative enough.
There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, (and most unfortunately) a pornography industry: and all of these have unique ways of communicating to bright young women: you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough.
You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. None of it.
You were created for a purpose, exactly so. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend; it is mind-boggling how much you are adored. There has never been, and there will never be another you. Therefore, you have unique thoughts to offer the world. They are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them.
You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
(Read "Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Boys" here.) (Read last year's "Ten Things I Want To Tell New Moms" here.)