I have to say, while mine are still in the early stages at 14 and 16, I really, really am enjoying them! There are a mix of emotions. I worry more about the impact of the decisions they will make. Bigger decisions, bigger joys and consequences. I worry about their new found freedoms and what they will do with them. The list of what I can spend my time worrying on is endless. I am often catching myself in a mind spiral and echoing these words "God will be faithful in all things". Worrying is really pointless. It brings nothing positive and puts our focus on things that may never happen instead of trusting God to carry us through it all.
Yes, I worry. No, they are not perfect. But for those of you with young ones dreading those years based on countless conversations with well meaning friends, I wanted to encourage you and point out some of the greatness in teenagers. There are so many things I love about them. Here is just a short list of my favorite things about having teenagers:
- They are so funny! You will spend so much time laughing. You have to allow yourself to have fun with them. Lighten up. Laugh at their silliness. Learn to laugh at yourself.
- 16 year olds can drive! Yes, you will get to the point that you will not only be okay with it, but be anticipating it with joy! I can count on my son to stop by the store, take his sister to gymnastics and I can crawl in my pjs at 10 pm and wait for him to get home instead of having to go out in the cold. It has become a great help to our family.
- You will have deeper conversations. There will be plenty of annoying ones, for sure. But they have a deeper grasp of many things. Talk with them. Share with them. Don't dismiss their views. If you feel differently, be honest without demeaning them. Sometimes you will agree to disagree. At least they are talking with you and you know where they stand.
- You get to see them change from a child into young men and women. Just keep in mind that they are not finished yet. They are men and women in progress, like us. They will be immature, argue with you, make mistakes and disappoint you. But you will see glimpses into their character, that you helped to build, and you will be thankful for the time you have taken to teach them over the years. You will praise God that He is continuing to work in their lives.
- You still have an influence and they will listen to you. Not always, but they will. We seem to have peaks and valleys with each of our kids. They are growing, they are moody at times and their lives really can be stressful with the demand of friends, school, activities and the pressures that our society places on them today. Never give up pouring into them. They may seem aloof. They may roll their eyes. They hear you. They may not admit it, but they do.