We have inevitably reached the end of summer. The late nights, sleeping in, hot days filled with sunscreen and ice cream are coming to an end. College students are likely making their plans for their dorm rooms or apartments, shopping at Ikea and Walmart, nervously thinking about new roommates, new classes, a whole new phase of life. Looking back, I don't know how 17 year old me felt other than lost. I remember thinking that I wasn't fully prepared to be "on my own" (even though I wasn't really "on my own", thankfully I was fortunate to have parents who funded my education and paid for all of my lodging and expenses). I met other people who seemed so much more confident in their life plans and who just knew more than I did about life in general (or, so I thought).
As an adult I read three books that I will absolutely be gifting to my girls when they graduate from high school. Whether they go to college or not, these books will hopefully give them a good foundation to grow into well-rounded women and will give them the confidence, knowledge and tools to navigate life.
*Disclaimer: These are all Christian-based books. Non-Christians have read and reviewed them and some have loved them, some have felt they were too religious. Just wanted to throw that out there before you run out and buy any of these if that could be a potential issue for you!
Everybody Always by Bob Goff: The new high school grad will undoubtedly meet difficult, different, frustrating people in their life. It might be a roommate, a classmate, a professor or a boss. It might even be an old friend that changed over the years. Bob Goff is such a passionate and engaging storyteller that addresses these types of challenges in a relatable way. Reading this book taught me to be less irritable, more patient, and more forgiving. I started to view situations in a different light and I learned to extend more grace toward people when I didn't understand why they could possibly act the way they were acting or treat me (or others) the way they did. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly no Bob Goff and I still have a long way to go in the grace department, I still get frustrated (sometimes too easily) and I still close myself off at times because it's easier than dealing with difficult people, but, this book opened my mind and my heart to love and acceptance and it is truly a must read for not only high school grads, but for everyone.
2. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis: As women, we often put so much pressure on ourselves. Pressure to lose weight, to be a better mom, to be a better friend, to be more like that person we saw on Facebook, to make our family Christmas photo sessions look magazine worthy (even though it made the whole family miserable to try to get that perfect shot). We don't give ourselves enough grace, we beat ourselves up about things that we would never expect from other people. In this book, Rachel can come across as no-nonsense and even harsh or too honest at times, but isn't that the friend we all wish we had? The one who won't just be a fair weather friend, but the friend who will tell you when you are being too hard on yourself (or others), the one who will tell you to lighten up a little, the one who will listen and encourage and be open and honest. If this is the kind of "friend" you would love to have, then Rachel Hollis is your girl. She does cover topics for moms and parenting which might not apply to the new high school graduate, but, I will tell you, after having three children of my own there are MANY things I wish someone would have told me BEFORE I was actually a mom! So, I would suggest either skip over those sections that don't apply, or read them anyway because some day, they probably will.
3. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey: I have purchased this book four times, once for myself and three times as gifts, it's just that good. Right after I graduated from high school in Texas I lived with my next door neighbor for the summer before college and nannied their two girls because my parents had to move to Colorado for my dad's job. The girl's mom taught me how to balance a checkbook and how to reconcile it with my checking statement. While I am so grateful for that knowledge and I still use it to this day for my personal accounts and my business accounts, that was pretty much the end of my financial knowledge. I knew nothing about saving or investing or interest rates, how to grow my funds, how to manage debt, how to prepare for my future and the future of my children. This book is a road map for financial success that should truly be a required course to take in high school. Dave Ramsey is encouraging, straight-forward and reading his advice made me feel like I was talking to my own dad. It's one of those books that you can read once, and then read again (and you probably should!).