Dear 10-Year-Old Me

Dear Gabriel, 

You’re ten, and I’m you at age fifty-eight.  Two things gave me the idea to write you a letter. First, There’s a picture of you in my living room. My wife, Sharlene, (Oh, you marry a beautiful, Godly woman, so don’t ever be anxious about girls or whom you’ll marry.) put it there. She thinks you’re cute, and that somehow works in my favor now. So, thanks for that. Well, I saw your picture the other day and thought it would be a good idea to write you a letter – kind of therapeutic for me, actually. That’s the first thing that gave me the idea – your picture; the second thing I’ll reveal a little farther down in the letter.

In a couple years, God will speak to you in church one Sunday morning. He’ll let you know He wants you to be a preacher. Don’t just blow that off later that day. Go play basketball with your friends that afternoon, like you always do. But don’t just fall into your same old way of talking and thinking and dismiss the idea of being a preacher. 

And please don’t wait until you’re twenty-one years old and in college to surrender your life to Jesus and begin your journey of trusting, and walking with, Him. Go ahead and give your life to Him that very Sunday morning. He won’t be just giving you a prophecy that you’ll one day be a preacher; He’ll be calling you to put your faith in Him and become very close friends with Him. 

And that afternoon, or any other time, if you find yourself saying things that don’t match up with being a Christian, don’t just abandon the idea of walking with God. Instead, say something like, “Hey everybody, I’m sorry, that’s not the way I want to talk or act.” And tell God you’re sorry. The Lord will forgive you immediately, so just get right back in step with Him. And that’ll be a great model for your friends, because they’ll need to do the same thing whenever they make mistakes. 

Now, if you do end up not committing your life to Christ that day or if you bail on your commitment to Him at any point, turn back to Him as soon as you realize it. He’s so merciful and His arms will always be open to you.

Another piece of advice is this. Forgive Dad. I know you feel like he treats you unfairly, but just forgive him and keep deciding to love him the way you did when you were a little boy and he was your hero and you wanted to be like him. You’ll be so glad one day that you always honored him and Mom.

Speaking of parents, you and your wife will have six kids. Then you’ll understand how hard it was for Mom and Dad. You’ll also see that your wife and children are God’s greatest earthly gifts to you, and your parents, siblings, and grandparents will become more and more valuable to you as life goes on. I’m so proud of the kids now. They’re scattered all over the country, and Sharlene and I don’t get to see them as much as we’d like. What’s cool, though, is that we can talk with them on a video screen – like a two-way television – any time. (Actually, most everything on The Jetsons has come true, except for the individual air-travel vehicles. Not sure why, but we just don’t have those yet.) (By the way, buy as much stock as you can in each of these companies in the respective year: Apple – 1980; Microsoft – 1986; Amazon – 1997; Tesla – 2010.)

We’re very proud of the kids. They’re all blessed with talent, wisdom and a strong work ethic, and they’re all doing well. Some are still finding their way to God, but they’ll be walking with Him soon. They’re also all very nice-looking, which is a credit to their beautiful mother. (Sorry to tell you this, but you’ll be the least attractive member of the family. Your wife-and-kids-family, that is; you’ll be the most attractive member of your parents-and-siblings-family, however.)

The second thing that gave me the idea to write to you is that I had a stroke earlier this year. A stroke is a type of brain injury where you lose some function of your brain, temporarily, at least. Well, in some ways, I’ve become like a kid again, so I’m having to relearn and develop things all over again. For example, You know how hard it is for you to do things left handed now? Well, you’ll improve, but the stroke paralyzed my left-hand fingers, and their function is slow to come back. So I’m probably at about your level again for that skill. I also don’t really catch traffic lights and brake lights like I should, kind of like a beginner driver. So, if you don’t mind, work hard to develop that left hand and to build some really good driving habits. Maybe those efforts can help me somehow.

Please try your best at things. You tend to be satisfied with just getting by when you could do much better. Do your best at whatever you do. You’ll be glad you did. 

Finally, remember that God loves you beyond your ability to comprehend it. You have nothing to worry about. Enjoy the next forty-eight years, and I’ll take it from there.

Sincerely You at 58,


9 Replies to “Dear 10-Year-Old Me”

    1. Dear 10 year old Gabe, and the old guy too! (grins like aloon)
      I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing you at ten, but I believe the heart of a boy is revealed in the life of the man you will become. What I know about you is that you have a good foundation and will become a generous, caring man, loving husband, father and GPop to your grand children, and a Pastor to a group of spiritual searchers on their own spiritual journeys, who like your children are spread across the country now, but keep you and your future family in our prayers. Something the older man of you taught me will be a life lesson for you too…and that is “you can’t fail, if you don’t quit”, you will become fond of the metaphorical statement of “plow on!”! try and think about that as you grow up. God loves you and will be patient with you and the “old guy” too. You and he are loved by many, so my younger brother Gabe, look to the future with hope and know you and Jesus will make a great team!
      Blessings from a future friend,
      Mary Johnston

      1. Thank you Mary – from young me and older me! You were such a blessing to me and my family and the GHC family! And you still are! It’s always great to hear from you and I know the Ratliffs are immeasurably grateful for your place in their lives. BTW, hey to all them. And hey to you and them from Sharlene and our whole family. We love you and pray God blesses you in every way!


    2. Well said. Interesting where we come from. Your a blessing brother. You are a much kinder man than myself, glad to have you as a friend.

  1. What a wonderful way and example to love yourself and reflect God’s love in the process!
    Thanks! – Lynn

  2. This 5 minute read brought so many emotions and mixed them together. It made me cry and it made me laugh. I can relate to what you said about your dad. This is the best advice to the ten year old. I’m so glad i got this advice when i was sixteen. Now i know it was not only the words you spoke to me. It was a part of your experience. It saved my family. Thank you, my dear friend!!

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