Sometimes I'm amazed by how much I enjoy being a parent of teen-agers. I don't think I expected to find this much pleasure, during these years. But I do.
At 19 and 18, it delights me -- sometimes it just really surprises me -- to realize that they are distinct individuals who no longer mimic my opinions, views, or thoughts. My goodness -- they have minds of their own, and aren't afraid to use them!
Granted, that's not always a good thing! Seems that a quick retort, smart mouth, and an intense desire to have the last word were bonuses that came unneatly packaged with the free-thinking, individualistic teen I originally bargained for.
But somewhere in the last few years-- long after I finally realized that I had to look up to talk to them while standing and, when hugging them good-bye each morning, my cheek now rests against their chests -- it's occured to me that these two delightfully unique guys are turning into men right in front of my eyes. And not just men - but men that I'm proud to say belong to me. Men that, as long as they continue to keep God first in their lives, will take responsibility, not only for their own lives, but for the world around them.
Of course, the next several years are crucial ones. I'm not naive enough to believe that the hard stuff is behind us, or that this free-thinking individual that so enamours me right now might not use that same individuality to drive me nuts with worry or fear in the future. There's still some shaping to be done by us, their parents, and there's still plenty of emotions, goals, and directives that will ride that proverbial roller coaster of uncertainty, indecisiveness, and insecurities.
But I'm enjoying the ride. And -- while I don't want to rush the "now", I have to admit I look forward to seeing the end result.
I came across this a while back. I don't know the original author, but I like the way he/she thinks:
Eleven Simple Rules for Teens
1. Life is not fair - get used to it.
2. The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
3. You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both.
4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.
5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping - they called it opportunity.
6. If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
7. Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way by paying your bills and cleaning your clothes. So before you save the rain forests of the world from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you multiple chances to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
9. Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
10. Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. (Seriously.)
11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll either end up working for one -- or falling in love with one!