On the eve of my 17 year old son last day at home before he left for college, I sat down with him at our kitchen table and had what I thought would be the last talk that I would have with him as an adolescent. In the previous weeks, months, and years we often sat and I shared with him the benefit of my years.
"I've given you all that I know up to this point and I won't be with you everyday to tweak or guide your decisions. I will not be there to protect you so I will give you the most important message that I know as you leave home. There are five things that you should always protect as you go forward and I want you to remember these.
Number 1: Protect your name. You have a very good name. It is honorable and respectable. Don't do anything that would bring a stain to your good name. Protect it.
Number 2: Protect your salvation. Don't just remember who you are, remember "who you belong to" - you are going off into a world where people will believe that pigs can truly fly. You've been given a special grace and you should do everything you can to protect it.
Number 3: Protect what's in your pants. Everything that looks good on the outside is not always good in the inside. Protect yourself.
Number 4: Protect your credit. In addition to you name, your credit will something that can have a significant impact on your life. There are no free lunches and if someone offers you a credit card while you are a student, just say no. You will appreciate this much more give years from now.
Number 5: Protect your heart. the Bible says that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." That mean's that the road to you destiny travels through your heart. There will be people and systems that operate with a dedicated goal to destroy your heart. If they can destroy your heart, they believe they can destroy your destiny. Protect your heart.
I share this advice freely as there are thousands of high school seniors that are about to leave home and many parents are planning to say goodbye. There may be other things that are worth protecting but few could have a big as an impact on the rest of their lives.