I pray you have a childhood filled with magic and wonder. I pray it’s overflowing with love and joyfulness. I pray your childhood affords you plenty of opportunities to take in all the wonders around you.

Catch frogs by day and chase fireflies at night. Run around barefoot on the cool, damp grass on a summer night.

Ride your bike, fall down, skin your knees, and get back up again.

Lie in the grass and watch the clouds roll on by above you.

Play with your cousins and know that they are your friends for life.

Watch butterflies float on the breeze and honeybees buzz flower to flower. Absorb all the naturally magical moments life has to offer.

I want you to look forward to days spent on the beach. Build a sandcastle. Feel the warm kiss of the sun on your cheek. Play in the waves, soak up all the adventure and fun days like that have to offer.

Watch the sunrise as its golden light peeks over the trees on the horizon. Allow yourself to appreciate the magnificence of the sunset, signaling the end of another beautiful day.

Help your father in the garden. Help him work the soil and plant the seeds. Water the seeds and reap the benefits of your hard work. Savor the taste of the fresh, homegrown produce you helped to harvest. Understand the worth in being self-sufficient and appreciate the gift of being able to provide for yourself.

Recognize the dignity in a hard day’s work and the feeling of accomplishment when the day is done.

Let your grandparents hold you and hug you often. Make it a priority to spend time with them. Listen to their stories. Ask them to teach you what they know. Appreciate the history of our family and be proud to have such strong roots.

Respect your own history. Know that you are connected to the past through people here on earth and by those in heaven who came before. Understand that you have ancestors that made sacrifices and worked hard to help you have the life you have today. Let the knowledge of your strong roots help you grow strong and steady. You are an important piece in our family’s puzzle.

While you might not yet fully understand what is said at church, let yourself feel down into your core the warmth of God’s grace.

Understand that God does not test you or allow bad things to happen to you. Life can bring grief and heartbreak, and you need to look to Him to help you get through life’s ups and downs.

Don’t allow the ugly in this world to jade you. Know that the goodness and beauty in this world far outweigh the bad. Open your eyes and your heart to see that God is alive and active in our hearts and in our lives. If you look for Him, you’ll find him in the most unexpected places.

Find good friends and love them always. Some will stay and some will go, but never forget the beautiful souls who touch your life, even if it’s only for a little bit.

Be a friend who is loyal and honest. Be a trusted listener and a wise counselor. Be a voice for those who are ridiculed or bullied, even if it is the unpopular thing to do.

Allow yourself to remain innocent for as long as possible. Don’t cut your own childhood short by trying to be an adult too soon.

Let your childhood be one of wonder, discovery, and joy. And never forget the depth to which you are loved.

I want all these things for you and so much more. But most of all, I want you to always know that you are loved beyond measure. You were prayed for and loved before you even came into this world. Savor every remarkable moment of your childhood. For when it’s done, you’ll think back on it and remember it with a smile. Trust me, I know.

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Stephanie Lawrence

Stephanie is a loving wife and mother residing in southeast Michigan. She is a passionate educator, a loyal friend, and a small town girl at heart. When she's not shaping the minds of her students or spending time with her family, you can find her curled up with a good book, or whipping up something tasty in the kitchen.