Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
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Note to Self: Letters to a High School Me
by Tom Goodman
April 11, 2012

Imagine you could go back in time and talk to your younger self.  What would you say?

As we plan for a summertime emphasis on this subject, we want you to write a quick word of advice to your high school self and turn it in.

In Dear Me, A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, author Joseph Galliano asked a number of well known people what they wish they could tell themselves at age sixteen.

For example, here's Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame:  "If you spent a quarter of the time thinking about others instead of the way you hate your thighs, your level of contentment and self-worth would expand exponentially.  PS: Follow your dreams, not your boyfriends."

And I agree with rock star "Alice Cooper" who told himself:  "Trashy girls are exciting for just about five minutes.  Keep your eye out for a really good lookin' church girl.  Then you'll have the best of both worlds.  PS: I think coffee shops might really catch on, maybe call them Star something."

As others have taken up the challenge, the project has become a cultural phenomenon.  CBS This Morning snagged Maya Angelou to read her "note to self" on their program.  And London's The Telegraph asked various staff writers to advise their younger selves.  Henry Winter warned himself:  "Stop being so painfully competitive.  Cherish the occasion."  And Alison Pearson advised:  "Remember, the girls whose names are called first when choosing teams for netball have no power to spoil your future.  Life's early winners often fall away.  Your time will come."

In his weekly newsletter, Pastor Jim White wrote his high school self.  Among other good bits of advice, he urged, "Follow Jesus now as both Forgiver AND Leader.  Don't wait.  Get serious about your relationship with Him.  You believe, but it is all intellectual.  You know about Him, but you don't know Him."

Now it's your turn.  Yes, this will take a little "think time."  But it will be worth it to you and to those who read your words.

You can skip the advice about buying Dell, Apple or Intel.  Instead, think about what you would have done differently related to heart, vision, and direction?  What would you tell yourself isn't worth the worry?  What would you tell yourself is worth the attention you failed to pay to it?

We're flexible on the length, but here's a guide:  We'd like more than 50 words and not more than 300.  Email a note to Pastor Tom's assistant, Jami (  The deadline is Wednesday, May 2.


Beacon Articles Available Online:  The staff newsletters that appear each week in the Beacon are also available on our website.  You can find them here.

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