Looking at my teenagers today, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when their summer fun came from a ten dollar plastic swimming pool, and a jar of bubbles. This summer, for us, is bittersweet. A good portion of our time is to be spent on college visits, and planning futures. I remember well those early years of parenthood— the days of diapers and sleep deprivation, when each milestone held the false promise of easier days ahead. I think about the simplicity of those days now, but at the time I was going through it, it didn’t seem so simple. I was exhausted. It seems like yesterday. One thing I’ve learned along the way, is that parenting doesn’t get easier, it only changes. Each phase has its own rewards, and difficulties.
This phase that I’m currently living— parenting teens is tricky. If I had the luxury of watching it play out from the sidelines, I’d be fascinated with the dynamics: power struggles, hormonal chaos, excitement, fear of the unknown, unrealistic expectations, disappointment. It’s a roller coaster ride, and to be honest, I’m at a loss as to how to navigate it.
The goal always been to raise independent, happy and healthy people. In order to succeed in life, a certain amount of fearlessness, and self confidence are needed. The difficulty I’m having is that while I attempt to build my children’s self esteem, and encourage them to step out of their comfort zone, I also want to caution them about all the horrors in the world. Teenagers never think anything bad will happen to them, and they are often impulsive. This is a dangerous combination. I want them to have the confidence to take the risks that could lead to great things, but there a fine line between bravery and recklessness. This is a conundrum. How do I teach my teenagers to exercise caution, without instilling my own fears in them, which might limit their futures?
Today was the memorial service for the son of one of my co-workers. This is the second co-worker of mine who has buried a son in the past few months. Both young men died as result of unfortunate choices. I can’t imagine what these parents are going through. No one should have to bury their child. I remember well, myself at that age, and my first taste of freedom. I made countless poor choices of which I am lucky to have survived. There but by the grace of God go I.
Those summer days with the ten dollar plastic swimming pools and jars of bubbles seem so easy now.
The Daily Post, July 19, 2015, Daily Prompt: Finite Creatures~ At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/finite-creatures/”>Finite Creatures</a><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/finite-creatures/”>Finite Creatures</a>