Sullivan: Advice for a new school year

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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By Candida Sullivan


If I could go back and speak to my younger self, the one so scared of starting another school year, this is what I would say.

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This too shall pass. One day this moment will be a memory. Take it all in. Feel the nerves and step into the present moment. Look around. Most of the kids feel the same way you do. Everyone is a little afraid of new beginnings. It’s okay to be afraid. But don’t you dare allow it to steal your joy.

Hold your head up and smile at everyone you meet. Everyone needs a smile to brighten their day. Look for someone to help. Be kind. We don’t know what anyone else is going through. Be the one who sits with those who feel alone and broken.

You are loved. God made you for a purpose. No one is better than you. And you are no better than anyone else. The ones who treat you badly need your love and kindness the most. People who are confident and kind don’t hurt other people. See their ugliness for what it is—a reflection of their own insecurities. When someone else treats us badly, then it is a reflection of them and not us. So when you see someone acting ugly, pray for them. They are fighting some type of battle within themselves.

If you notice someone staring at you, smile. When we have someone’s undivided attention then we can give them a little glimpse of our Lord. The loudest testimony of our lives is how we treat other people—especially when no one is looking.

Don’t let anyone be kinder than you. Look for ways, all day long, to be kind to someone. It makes a difference. If you don’t believe me, then notice how you feel when someone is kind to you.

Be yourself. This is probably the hardest lesson of all to learn. We live our lives so afraid that others won’t like us, and then we become miserable because we end up acting in a way that we don’t like. People will judge you. They will talk about you. But at the end of the day, their opinion of you doesn’t matter. When you brush your teeth each morning and night, do you like the person who is staring back at you? You are only responsible for you. Ask God to help you to be the person He created for you to be.

Laugh as often as possible. Have fun and enjoy the journey. If it won’t matter in five years, then don’t spend time worrying about it. Most people spend their time thinking about themselves anyway.

And when you think no one cares and you are all alone, just know that a whole community of people is praying for you. We love you and we want you to have the best year possible.

Candida Sullivan is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and certified life coach. Her book, Despite Your Circumstances, won the 2016 CSPA book of the year award. It is her passion to help others learn to overcome their own circumstances. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and children. If you’d like to contact her, please email her at