A couple of days ago I was walking around the mall, running some errands while my husband watched the kids. It was kind of nice having some freedom, not feeling rushed or distracted. But as I walked around I realized I had stepped into teenager land. I was passing mob after mob of adolescent, hormonal, attention seeking, insecure kids. That might seem like an unfair evaluation of them, but being that I was once a teenager and I know what I was like, I think that describes them perfectly.
Some were obnoxious, being rude and foul (mostly the guys). Some were quiet and giggly, talking sheepishly with each other (mostly the girls).
And I was brought back to a time when I was one of them. I had my mom drop me and my friends off at the mall so we could “hang out”. This usually consisted of my friends and I trying to find hot guys to talk to. Yup, I was one of those girls. Not proud of it either.
When I got home and I looked at my kids, my heart sank for them. All I could think of was “I do NOT want them to grow up!” Later on I was talking to my husband about this, and I said “I don’t want my son to grow up to be a shady teenager hitting on girls, and I don’t want my daughter to be hit on and tempted by shady guys!” Chris concurred and then said, “that is why it matters now how we let Ben treat Lucy and you, and it matters now how Lucy is treated by me and Ben.”
He’s right. Unfortunately no matter how much I try to keep my kids young and (somewhat) innocent, they absolutely will grow up. Probably quicker then I would like them too. But that is why this stage is so important for the stages to come. My kids will most definitely make mistakes. I could be the most perfect mom in the world and they still would slip up.
But we have to do our best in showing them now how to treat others. Ben can grow up thinking woman are there to be ogled and manipulated, or he could grow up knowing woman need to be protected and should be treated with respect. Lucy also needs to grow up knowing her worth is in God’s eyes, not the eyes of any other male.
The truth of the matter is that there is hope. The perfect teenager doesn’t exist, but I have met a phenomenal few. They are as close as it gets to being perfect. They have perspective that is shocking for their age. These almost-adults are out there. And I pray that my kids can be like them. That they can still reflect Christ, even when society tells them they don’t have to, because they are too young and hormonal to.
As hard as it feels to believe it…there is hope.