General Identity

Letters to Younger Me- Age 13-Turmoil

MW Editor’s Note:  From time to time, we post a series of letters that older you might have written to younger you. Letters that help bring perspective and hope for the future. Perhaps some of these letters resonate with you. Perhaps, some of these letters might help you work through some growing-up experiences that have shaped the man you are becoming or should become. 

Dear Younger Me.

Well, 13 has turned out to be quite a tumultuous year! So much going on, so much changing, and seemingly all at once. It’s like your mind either races ahead of your body, or your body is racing ahead of your mind. You are experiencing new emotions and feelings you haven’t before. It’s all so confusing! One moment you feel like a king the next you are crying over the most trivial things!

No Privacy!

Your younger sisters are becoming quite the pests. After all, you can’t help it you suddenly have all these zits on your face and back. It’s embarrassing and your sisters are quick to tease you. To top it all off, it’s become very awkward to share a bedroom with one of your younger sisters. You need privacy and you aren’t getting it.  I mean, come on, having to change in the bathroom or in the basement. No wonder you feel like you are in the way; no room for you at home. 

Mom and dad love you, man. There are five of you in a 2 bedroom house and it’s cramped. They want to add on another bedroom just for you, but they are strapped for cash. So, the only relief valve is to have you sleep on the sofabed while your two sisters take the bedroom.  I don’t want to ruin what already is a rotten situation, but it’s going to be like two years of sleeping on the sofa until you finally get your own bedroom.  Now, don’t go ballistic, but as older you, I know the horrible situation this puts you in. Seventh and eighth grades, with no bedroom and sleeping on the sofa. You can’t go to bed until after the 10:00 pm news is over, and awake at 4:30 am when you and your dad have to get up to deliver newspapers.  This is not the teenage years you signed up for.

Freaked Out!

I wanted to circle back on something you mentioned to me; something that happened recently and shocked the “crap” out of you!  You woke up one night with wet shorts. You thought you had reverted to being a kid again when you’d drink too much Kool-aid and didn’t take a leak before heading to bed.  But, this time was different. I know you’re confused because I was you back then. I can still feel the awkwardness. 

When your body is changing and no one has told you about it, it can send a guy reeling. Here’s the down-lo on what happened to you. As you enter your teenage years, your pituitary gland wakes up and hormones begin to affect every part of your body. Your growth spurt, your voice starting to change, the pubic hairs, even your wider range of emotions are all part of you growing up. None of it is sinful and as awkward as some of it may be, you are perfectly normal.  Even what happened in your shorts. Doctors call it a nocturnal emission. Most call it a wet dream. It’s your body creating testosterone. When it builds up in your system, it eventually comes out through your penis. The fluid is called semen and in it are millions of sperm; sperm that is the seed for life when it meets a female egg. 

I want to assure you, man, that all of this is totally normal. The fact you freaked out when it first happened comes from the fact you didn’t know what was going on. No one told you. There is nothing wrong with you. If it happens again, and it will just go to the bathroom, clean up, change your shorts and go back to bed. In fact, thank God your body works. 


All of what I mentioned above directly affects your growing interest in girls. To be honest, there’s a couple of cute girls at school you’d like to get to know, but you’re just “too shy”.  “What girl would want to know me?” Can I just say, that as older you, I now see that all of that mixed feelings about girls comes out to two things; the lie you’ve believed since you were about 9, that you are not worth knowing, and your new hormones that are giving you feelings for girls you’ve never had before. Interest in girls is normal. In fact, from the very beginning, God made us male and female. As you get older, you’ll get to a point where you want to date and eventually marry. I know for a fact, but in the meantime, for now, at age 13, take it one day at a time. 

You are worth knowing. Your body changes are normal and, with God’s help, you can grow up into a fine young man. Keep connecting your life with Jesus.

I believe in you. 

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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