There have been few times in your life I have greeted with anxiety.
The first was your birth. The anxiety I felt upon leaving you in the NICU while I went home to recuperate from your emergency delivery has not been matched yet. I hope I never feel that way again.
The second was your entrance into early adulthood at the age of 13. Your first birthday I took in stride, not worrying too much about your future. As your 13th neared, I wondered how I would let go and allow you to mature without micro-managing your transition. The last few months leading up to that day caused much introspection and careful consideration.
Now you embark on a new phase of life. One that I pray over constantly. One that requires me to release you into the ungodly world.
I have educated you at home because I didn't want the enemy to have a say in your education before you were mature enough to handle his attacks. I took my role as your God ordained guardian seriously, pushing you at times like a mother bird would knock a fledgling from the nest. All the while I have watched cautiously trying to maintain balance between allowing you to make mistakes and rescuing you when your lack of wisdom would cause too much harm.
We both know I haven't excelled at times. For instance, the time when you were rough housing on your bunk bed with your buddies, resulting in a fall and a broken foot. We both know that I made you walk a mile on that foot, not realizing it was actually broken, unwilling to listen to your complaints. I've already apologized for that and hope that you now see it in a humorous light.
Regardless, I have tried to keep you from attacks on your self esteem from ill-tempered peers. I have tried to rescue you from humanistic brainwashing by power hungry adults. I have tried to caution you against bodily injury by teaching you how to be adventurous but still careful.
By bits and inches I have tried to build in you the ability to overcome any obstacle in life through encouraging your trail-blazing spirit. I have gradually lessened the number of orders I give you while increasing the number of suggestions. I have begun the process of requiring you to take responsibility for your decisions.
And now you are in the workforce. You will be spending hours around peers and elders who may not have the same worldview, who are not motivated by Christian love, and who will use manipulation and control to satisfy their selfish desires. These people will not understand why you won't sacrifice your health and well being for a few minutes of chemical pleasure. They will not understand why you are not interested in illicit talk and avoid sensual imagery. As it says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, they will not understand your motivation because it is foolishness to them. They cannot understand it because they see through carnal eyes.
Unlike the teachers and mentors you have had, your employer is not interested in your growth and development except where it brings in a profit. The end goal of your company is not to nourish and feed you. It is not to ensure that you are healthy or fulfilled in life. The goal of your company is to make a profit. They have merely hired you because they need another able bodied young man to help do the grunt-work.
In closing, I say this. Keep your eyes on Christ. Make it your goal each day to serve Him. Be an example of the believers. Let them know you're a Christian by your love. Be the best you can be by the power of God. Don't allow the ungodly actions of your associates, seemingly without consequence, lure you away from your relationship to God. Guard your heart, guard your eyes, guard your mind, guard your tongue. Realize that you will receive a greater reward in heaven when you overcome.
Above all, I love you. I'm proud of you.