By Dan Hall
If I Were 18 Again
Age and experience provide amazing perspective. I have six kids, and my sixth just turned 18. Not only have I been 18, but I’ve had to live through it six more times!
As I watch another generation of leaders step into this season, I remember my own excitement and trepidation crossing this Rubicon. In many ways, I couldn’t wait; in others, I was terrified.
Assuming you’ve already embraced a primary list of life lessons from your parents and other mentors, e.g. obey God, love Christ, marry a believer, etc., allow me to recommend a secondary list of lessons I believe makes life much easier:
#1 – Learn the difference between being in a hurry and diligence.
There are two primary reasons we’re in a hurry: we tried to pack too much in too little time or we didn’t plan well. Plan well, then be diligent not to procrastinate. I rushed through so many moments I wish I had lingered in—dinner with a friend, a good movie, a sunset.
#2 – Cultivate empathy toward others.
Sympathy understands THAT another feels something. Empathy understands WHY they feel it. Learning to listen to another’s journey—to truly listen—and understand where they are and how they got there is a quality that will expand both your character and your influence. Empathy is not agreeing with their decisions or even their conclusions; it’s simply understanding the journey.
Don’t confuse that with Pity, which defends staying where they are.
#3 – Choose your friends carefully.
This is a tricky one, because friends come and go throughout our lives, often relative to the seasons we’re in. You have really good friends now that you may lose touch with later, and you have some amazing friendships in your future you don’t know today.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” A good friend will:
- Relentlessly push you toward your God-created purpose.
- Refuse to let you be less than you can.
- Celebrate your successes and pick you up after the failures.
#4 – Marry well.
I see life as basically good. But it can also be very difficult. Find someone who makes it easier or at least enjoys carrying the weight with you. Here are some qualities I tell my children to look for in a spouse:
- They laugh easily and make you laugh.
- They enjoy hearing your thoughts more than convincing you of theirs.
- They see you as a treasure, not a project for
- Their face brightens every time they see you.
Welcome to this next season!