Honor, not become
Went to a parenting seminar over the weekend, with a speaker who was full of wisdom and good humor. She spoke to an audience of mostly parents of teens. There was a lot of knowing laughter and good natured head shaking.
She talked about adolescence being very similar to when children are toddlers—full of curiosity, widening their boundaries, trying to gain control, etc. If we can think of the things teenagers do as curiosity rather than rebelliousness, we'll be less likely to go crazy. She also recommended "teen proofing" your house the same way you "baby proofed" years ago—i.e., be sure to lock up your liquor. I thought to myself, And your car keys!
But in the end, I left feeling very grateful. Sure, there are the things that make me want to tear my hair out, but my current teenager is actually pretty amazing. He knows his own mind; he follows his own path regardless of pressure from others—which includes me and teachers, but it also includes his friends; he comes to talk to me frequently about his life and conclusions; he's got a compassionate heart that values fairness and honesty; and 95% of the time, he's a joy to have around. The seminar put these things in perspective for me.
The other point that I wanted to share here today is something funny the speaker said: "The commandment says to honor your father and your mother, not *become* your father and your mother." Ha!
So our kids are not us. Adolescence is about them finding out who they are irrespective of us. At first, this may seem like they are the anti-us. We may react and want to snap them back to what we want them to be. They will resist this, and rightfully so. Better to stand out of the way and let them know we're as eager as they are to see how they're going to turn out—and that we're sure it will be amazing.
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