12 Truths I Want My Daughter to Know before She Enters College

Cindi McMenamin

It’s happened way too fast. Your girl is grown and she’s heading out on her own.

I imagine there are still things you want to tell her that you haven't. There are values you've taught her that you are hoping will stick. And there are hopes and prayers you have for her that you're not sure how to express.

Rather than remain silent and fear the worst or quietly hope that you’ve done your job thus far, here is something you can share with her. Or, better yet, find a way to say these things in your own way. These are 12 things I wanted my own daughter to know before she entered college – and 12 things she is still, by the grace of God, holding fast to today:

1. Life is fleeting; number your days. Although you feel invincible, as if you’ll live forever, life passes by quickly and it won't be long before you’ll be saying these same words to your own son or daughter one day. Psalm 90:12 instructs us to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom," and that's the best way to live without regrets. Live as if each day is precious and you’ll never get it back again.

2. People will come and go in your life but there is One who will never leave (Hebrews 13:5). So, investing time in your relationship with God is an investment that you’ll never regret. Don’t forget Him – or blow Him off – if others around you have. At the end of the day – and at the end of your life – He is the One who has always loved you the most.

3. God's opinion matters more than anyone else's. It's easy to fall into the trap of trying to impress others. But the bottom line is, God’s opinion of you is the only one that really matters. And He already thinks the world of you. Therefore, set your heart on pleasing Him first. You’ll find it simplifies life and makes you less of a people pleaser.

4. Think long-term, not short term. You will often hear from others, and even professors, that you should seize the day and "live for the moment." But the things that seemed SO important to us in our 20s we can barely remember in our 40s. Living wisely and well today always pays off tomorrow.

5. Don't waste time worrying about what you can't control. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6: "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.…" Life is just too short to worry about things when God is more than able to carry those burdens for you.

6. God is the only One who satisfies, so don't ever look to a man to do for you what only God can. There’s a reason He tells us in Isaiah 54:5, "For your Husband is your Maker, the Lord God of hosts...." Too many women look for a husband to be god in their lives, instead of looking to God to be their spiritual husband.

7. Every man you date is a potential life partner. So whether or not he's a mature follower of Christ, or doesn't know Christ IS a huge deal. Scripture commands us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 not to be "bound together" with unbelievers. That doesn't just apply to marriage. I know many a wife who wishes it was more important to her during her dating years that her boyfriend be a strong Christian.

8. Don't look for validation in anything or anyone but God. You are loved immensely by your Creator and given the awesome privilege of serving the Savior. If you ever doubt who you are or what you've been given, read Ephesians 1. And take Ephesians 2:10 to heart: "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (NLT).  

9. Choose carefully what you expose yourself to. The things we allow our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our minds to process have a way of sticking with us far longer than we had imagined.  Romans 12:2 tells us to "not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…." That renewal of the mind happens when you clear it of the junk this world will bombard you with.

10. Develop wise financial habits now. They will be a safeguard for you as you get older.

11. Purity is rare and priceless. Guard it with your life. (And regardless of what the tabloids say, righteousness will never go out of style.)

12. Everyone fails, but your failures don't define you. We are defined, instead, by God's words that include unforgettable” (Isaiah 49:15), “sought after” (Isaiah 62:12) and “chosen” (Ephesians 1:11). God specializes in giving us another chance. Take your failures, shortcomings, heartaches, and mistakes to Him and He can redeem them into something beautiful and meaningful in your life.

Cindi McMenamin is a national women's conference and retreat speaker and the author of 15 books, including When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books and ministry, or to download free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or individual walk with God, see her website:

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Publication date: July 26, 2016