16 Commitments for Your 16th Birthday and Beyond

Aaron TrekkieI remember your first birthday like it was yesterday. Having been born the day after your grandmother’s birthday, we had a big celebration when you turned 1 and she turned 60. It was close to Halloween, and your dad anointed you as a fellow Trekkie.

In kindergarten, your Waldorf teachers told us that you were an old soul and would always aspire beyond your years. They also said that you’d become a leader, and their wisdom proved accurate. We blinked, and here you are at 16—so handsome, so tall.

CalmUp® photo of Aaron in Navy bluesDad and I are so proud of your wanting to follow in the footsteps of your Grandpa Wade, Jr. and your Great Grandpa Wade, Sr. by planning to join the Navy. Your decision seemed to be divinely inspired by these two men who never got to lay eyes on you, yet insisted that you be born to carry on the family name. (Of course, no one is in any hurry for that to happen!)

We’re grateful that we still have a couple more years to spend with you “living under our roof,” as your dad would say. As parents, there’s more to instill, even though you learned some of these lessons in kindergarten. Nevertheless, they bear repeating:

  1. Make your bed
  2. Clean up after yourself
  3. Be kind to everyone, all of the time
  4. Brush your teeth (with toothpaste)
  5. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, and don’t be afraid of the soap
  6. Clip your toenails, change your socks and underwear daily, and remember those other grooming habits
  7. Talk to God every day—more than just saying thank you for your meal
  8. Show respect and appreciation for all that is done for you and all that you have
  9. Be grateful for everything—the good stuff, as well as the painful and dark times too
  10. Donate your time and money—remember that it’s not all about you
  11. Know when to speak up and when to keep your mouth closed
  12. Ask yourself if what you’re about to do will help you to become the best version of yourself
  13. Don’t let one moment of impulsivity ruin the rest of your life (per Wade Gose, Jr.)
  14. Follow your heart before your head(s)
  15. Remember that everyone is a child of God
  16. Live long and prosper

I love you forever,