|I miss my students in Korea. I miss being around a lot of kids. What I miss the most is that being around them brought out the kid in me.|
This is a letter to the young Hannah Love Yoon.
I want to know what happened to you. Where have you gone? You were a fearless and bold girl. You weren't afraid to try new things. You were so active and loud. You were a natural leader. You were kind to your friends. When you were 3 or 4 you'd jump from the top of the stairs or tables knowing someone would be there for you. You knew you were loved. You knew people were protecting you. Don't ever forget that. As you grow older you'll meet some mean people but you'll also meet a lot of good people. I want you to know you'll never be a loner. Never. You'll always have friends in each school year. People will like you. People will want to be with you.
Growing up is overrated. There are too many angry, bitter and jaded grown ups out there. Adults don't know anything more than you do. I think grown-ups are more confused than they like to admit. Their hearts and minds are cluttered with lies, wounds and bitterness.
We're all trying to figure out what we're doing or what we're supposed to be doing. We act like we know everything. Don't let us fool you. I don't think we know much. We fight one another. We don't know how to love each other. We compete with one another. We burn bridges, we manipulate and control... but it's because we're all broken and hurting. We haven't quite figured out how to move on, heal and be whole. Most of us are hiding. Whether it's behind our jobs, social status, what we own... we're hiding. It's a bit painful for people to see how broken we are.
Do you remember the first week at your new school? You were bullied but on that same day you made new friends. You thought you were going to be alone but people found you and loved you. You're going to try to use that event to keep people away. You're going to try to build up walls to protect yourself. But you should know if you do that you'll miss out on meeting the most amazing people who will want to be in your life.
You'll be just fine. You'll make it through middle school. Boys are insecure and don't know anything so when they're mean to you don't take it personally. High school is going to feel like hell sometimes. But it's over in 4 years. Popularity is overrated. Also no one is going to remember what you wore on that Monday in June to homeroom science class so don't stress about it.
Even though you'll be tempted to settle for second best in life, don't. You'll get into university, travel, work and live in Korea and discover what you're meant to be doing. So much is waiting for you. Stop hiding. Let your heart be forever young -- young, but not immature. You might think you're insignificant and worthless, but this isn't true. You'll see how much you're loved by all the people who will invest into you through their commitment to you. Your youthfulness is powerful. Too many children are disappearing because they're told to grow up.
I'm only 26 right now. I don't have life figured out. I think I understand what it means to have child-like faith. I wonder a lot about love, about God and about life. Rather than doing this alone, maybe you could help me out. Keep me grounded. With you there'll be joy, freedom, love and hope. I could use some of your confidence and grit. See you soon.