Aren’t Teens a Scream!
I made a wonderful friend when I was in the eighth grade. Her name was Judy. Our friendship survived puberty, boys, getting our driver’s licenses and even very bad perms. But I think one of the biggest tests of our friendship was when I tried to gain weight while she was trying to lose. Just in case you don’t know it, when you’re a teenager, the weight battle is no small issue. In millenium terms, the Y2K over-reaction was a hangnail.
I have to confess that I didn’t have a spec of compassion or understanding. When she asked how I stayed skinny, I would answer, “It’s easy. I just don’t eat.” She would run from the room letting out some sort of primal scream as I sat at the table with a confused look and a Twinkie dangling out of one side of my mouth.
Twenty-something years and twenty pounds later, the primal screams are MINE. If I named these twenty pounds, I think I’d have to call them “Judy’s Revenge.” That would make it more personal than naming the pounds after their parents, Ding Dong and Brownie. The miracle of it all is that Judy and I are still great friends, despite my teenage insensitivity.
While we’re on the subject of teenagers, I’ve made an interesting observation. Boys and girls seem to stop using vowels at around the age of thirteen. And I’ve noticed another amazing phenomenon. Maybe this phenomenon occurs because adults can’t understand the teenage vowel-less language very well. Whatever the reason, teens seem to develop some sort of body language combined with a form of gymnastics. It’s really pretty amazing. The spinning-shoulder/eye-roll combination is one of the most complicated moves in the teenager olympics, yet I still see many master it.
All five of my children will be teenagers at the same time. Perhaps I should stop this article right here and we should all bow for intense, fervent prayer. If you’ve finished praying, I’ll continue. I know just enough about teenagers to be looking forward to these years. Okay, now you can stop laughing and go back to praying.
Thankfully, I think my children will be more compassionate and understanding than I was when I was a teenager. If not, then at least I have the comfort of knowing that I have more compassion and understanding than I did back then, and maybe that will help me deal with my children tenderheartedly. I’m going to keep praying 1 Pet 3:8-9 for my family:
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
Teens get lots of examples of selfishness, evil and cold-heartedness from the world. My goal is to let “a blessing” be the inheritance for my children. I do hope I can be a better testimony of compassion to them than I was to Judy.
You can stop by my house anytime to see if I’m meeting that goal. Don’t stop if you hear primal screams.