GRANDPA'S LETTER TO PATRICIA ON HER 18TH BIRTHDAY
When you were a baby, Grandma and I used to carry you in our arms. You were then too young to talk, so we had to learn how to baby talk so we could baby talk to you.
When you grew up from a baby to a little girl, you used to come to our bedroom to play with your doll. Your favorite place was a corner in the bedroom where you would sit down on the floor and carry on monologue conversation with your doll and an imaginary friend.
Then you grew from a little girl to a school girl. The most memorable thing I can remember of those days was that you used to sleep in our bedroom. You slept in the big sofa and I remember you would say a prayer before going to sleep. And this went on until one day you grew bigger and the sofa became too small for you to sleep on. So it was time for you sleep on your own bed in your parents’ bedroom.
Time has passed so fast. It seems it was only yesterday when you were just a kid. And now you are celebrating your 18th birthday! You are now a young adult, a beautiful young lady.
At 18, you are of legal age. You have the capacity to enter into contracts. You are qualified to vote. I have a gut feeling that very soon there will be young men courting you. And, as nature has it, soon you will fall in love. But let me remind you that as you enter adulthood, you will encounter many challenges in your life as you journey along. A word of advice from Grandpa might help you face those challenges.
1. Use the Word of God as a principal guide for living, rather than the culture of modernism, feminist movements or peer pressure. Study God’s Word faithfully so that you may be instructed in the way to righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
2. Keep away from friends who are a bad influence on you, and surround yourself with friends who will encourage you in godliness. Cast out any outside corrupting influences, such as movies, TV shows and other activities with no moral redeeming value.
3. I encourage you to strengthen your relationships with your family members. Your relationship with your family should be the most important relationship to you, second only your relationship with the Lord. The members of your family should be your best friends; hence, make the most of the time that the Lord has allowed you to be with them. Be an encouraging and inspiring example to your younger sisters. Love, honor and respect your father and your mother so that it may be well with you (Exodus 20:12).
4. Cultivate a deeper and honoring relationship with your father and mother, in word and deed (Sirach 3:1-4, 8). Confide in them, pray for them and let them know that you are behind them so that they may become even greater parents.
5. Clothe yourself with the godly quality of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is precious in the eyes of God. Let it blossom in the inside and shine through the outside. A lady is one who acts more gracious, keeps her dignity, and her manner and voice are gentle and quiet.
6. Do not be a compromiser on moral issues. Remember, we are in the midst of a spiritual warfare. When you compromise on moral issues, you lose the battle. Win the battles for Christ, your Lord and Savior, by fighting his battles in his way.
7. Your parents are active members of the St. James Parish Renewal Movement. I encourage you to join the youth group of this renewal movement. It is important that you fellowship with young Christian men and women who are committed to the Lord. They will be a good influence on you.
8. You are a college student, focus on your studies. Do not get seriously involved in any love relationship because it will only distract you from your studies. I earnestly hope to see you graduate from medical school.
9. Someday, after you have completed your college education and have become a doctor, you will seriously think of getting married. In anticipation of that future event, preserve yourself by remaining pure physically, emotionally and mentally. Prepare yourself to become a worthy bride for a godly man.
10. Finally, Proverbs 3:5-6 is a good Scripture for you if you want to get inspired directions from the Lord: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
Grandma joins me in warmly wishing you a happy birthday. May the Lord bless and keep you always. Amen.
I love you.
EDUARDO R. CENIZA
Makati City, Philippines