It’s coming! Only five years from now I will be a parent to a teenager and call me naïve but I can’t wait. I can’t wait for the out of control hormones, the push to be independent w/o really knowing what that means, the struggle to find who he is while still being under the wing of our parenting, the pimples, the crushes, the homework that I have no clue how to help because it’s been too long.
What will his first job be? Will he be ready to get his driver’s license at 16 or will he procrastinate like his father did? His first date, I wonder who she will be? I’m not in it so right now I can dream about it and be excited, even while being a bit terrified. Okay, hugely terrified. J So yes I know it’s going to be harder than I’ve ever imagined but I can’t wait!
Here’s what I want to say to anyone who is willing to listen. If you have a teen right now please enjoy them. I know they are different than what you were at that age, but your parents said the same thing and it probably irritated you. In this age of technology it’s easy to think that they don’t use their imagination enough, they aren’t outside enough, they are on their phones too much and you can’t even keep up with their apps.
Have you tried? Have you learned what Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and all the others are? Do you get involved in their lives (to the extent that they desire) and know who they are? They aren’t just monsters that live under your roof that you can’t wait to get rid of. They are people with a future, a past and a present.
So rather than be on a soapbox especially since I do not have a teenager just yet, let me implore you to enjoy your teenager. Let them know that you are there to listen when they need you, there to instruct them, to tutor them, to guide them, yes even to discipline them when they need it. The point is you are there for it all, not just the parts you want to be or just when you have to do it, or when you’ve reached your boiling point, but always there to enjoy life with them.
Enjoy them, love them, train them, dream with them, never ever give up on them (see prodigal son) and watch them grow!
P.S. I’ve been on the other side as a youth minister and have heard what the teens want most from their parents, and trust me it isn’t always what they tell you because they are afraid you might not be willing to listen so they often hold back.P.P.S – Be careful what you say when you’re “joking”.
In Christ, Lance