To my beautiful little sister,
As you are entering your senior year of high school and prepare to go off to college I know there will be many times you encounter drinking and drugs, whether you put yourself in that situation or not. I know because I experienced it all myself; I went to the same high school and know the same temptations that you will face and, I'm sure, have already faced. I've told you this before but I can't emphasize it enough, "partying" in high school (or whenever) is usually not worth it. I wish I could have been a better role model for you and (name), I made a lot of mistakes in my choices in the past year and let me tell you, getting a ticket is so not worth it. I know there will be times all your friends will want to drink and it is okay, and in my opinion it is admirable, to opt out of drinking. High school is a much more dangerous environment for partying than college, many kids don't know how to handle themselves, people are usually driving cars instead of walking across campus to get home, and getting caught by the police is a lot easier than you would think. What is even worse than getting a ticket and having no more second chances before another incident goes on your record (I know, what could be worse than that!?) is disappointing mom and dad. By far, knowing that I failed mom and dad was the worst part of my experience. They worked so hard to raise us to the best of our abilities, giving us freedom and responsibility and every other tool to raise us to be successful, value-instilled adults. When you are faced with making a choice, always make the choice that would make mom and dad proud of you.
You are such a bright, fun-loving, hilarious young woman and you have great friends that, luckily, share many of the same values as you do. I'm sure you know you can have a great time without the influence of any alcohol or drugs, and usually those substance-free times with good friends are ten times more fun than a sloppy night you can't even remember. The cool thing about living a low-risk life is you find so many better, more worthwhile things to invest your time in that will ultimately make you a better person and help you to discover yourself on a spiritual, mental and emotional level that you never thought possible. Drinking unnecessary amounts of cherry Burnett's in somebody's basement while their parents are out of town will give you a few hours of fun, a few extra pounds to have to exercise off, and a few regrets the next morning. What I love about my college is that the majority of people are here for reasons other than getting as drunk as possible as quick as possible. I've met some of my closest friends by staying in on a Friday night or going to mass on Saturday night.
I hate that I sound like such a hypocrite, I know I made way more high-risk, stupid choices in high school than I should have, especially when I had so much on the line with sports, clubs and college. I just wish I could have been a more admirable person for you in every way possible in these impressionable times in your life. I want you to have fun and make your share of mistakes, but learn from them before you get in a bad situation. Make choices that you would want (name) to make when she has to face the same situation. Make choices that mom and dad would approve of and that your coaches, teachers and supporters would agree with. Remember to never lose sight of the things that matter most to you in life, the same things that would be severely compromised if you made high-risk choices. Set goals for yourself that will encourage you to make the appropriate choices to reach your goals and succeed.
I love you so much and hope that your senior year is your best year yet. I wish I were there with you to support you and watch out for you better, I still am, just from 900 miles away! Never sell yourself short, realize you can achieve all you dream of and more if you make choices that will contribute to your dreams. Watch out for (name) and be the role-model for her that I wish I did a better job at for both of you! See you soon, Your Sister