I have good news for you parents! Your darling pre-teen/early teen will one day emerge from the months of awkwardness and you will find yourself looking into the face of an amazing young man or young woman. Can I get an amen?!
Not that we don’t love our goofy kids when they enter those years of puberty, but, let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest season with them when it comes to really being able to relate without constantly saying, “Honey, trust me on this, you don’t want to wear that.”
We get braces on them, and their pimples starting manifesting in large proportions. They have silly jokes with their friends and their arms and legs grow 44x faster than anything else. The frontal lobe of the brain is trying its hardest to grow at the speed of a turtle. We look at them with surprise and shock and we wonder, we awe at the young human before us with the goofy laugh and strange hair design choices. We are speechless sometimes, not because they have wowed us with something, but more because, dude, we just don’t get it.
Still, our hearts love them. We side glance at our spouse and friends and toss in an eye roll that can lead to fits of laughter in adults. We have the unspoken facial cues that read, “They need more birthdays. Bear with my darling child.” And it’s true. More birthdays means more maturity. (If we’re being real honest, we all can rely on more birthdays bringing more maturity, which should help us lend grace with our kiddos.)
Then a miracle happens. They actually start hearing you when you talk. They look you in the eye and finally catch your sarcasm. They can dish out jokes and hold their own with your friends. They become more attentive to younger siblings and don’t seem to argue…as much. You find you let them make their way more in their choices, still maybe cringing, but you have no choice. You must let them go into their young adulthood with open hands.
They are emerging from the awkward stage and becoming young adults. You will laugh more. You will worry more. You will lead more and decide less. You will hold your tongue more and give less advice. I’m sorry parents, that’s the breaks. They are becoming young men and women who need us to be examples more than they need us to be exclamation points, always needing to teach and make a point.
My oldest kids are sixteen and fifteen. They are amazing. We just now have come to the point in our home that we can really teach them about God’s purposes for His own glory and we get more than “Jesus?” for every question we ask. They listen and nod and say, “Oh. I see it now.” They give us amazing responses to difficult questions about the world and chaos in it. They are beginning to understand the power of prayer and they are seeing the greater world beyond their easy American, iPhone filled life.
I’ve not said this is easy. I’ve not said that we are best friends and all is awesome. I’m only saying it’s amazing. It’s a difficult journey of quiet whispers with my husband about them, filled with the day-to-day life and interaction with these adults-in-practice.
If you, the parents, can make yourself see them beyond their age, and, please, beyond college, you will treat them differently. See them as the men and women you truly want them to become and speak into that. Lead through that. And, most importantly, be that. They will honor what they see you being more than what you ever said.
Trust me, these people are worth it.