It’s when our kids begin to understand what being an adult is all about, but their childhood still lingers.
They stand with excitement looking through the doorway to a whole new world, but their view inside is still limited by their life experience. They are trying on adult things and figuring out what it all really means. But they still have so much growing up to do.
At sixteen, everything comes in seasons and spurts, ups and downs, steps forward and some back.
Our sweet little rambunctious baby boys are growing up and transforming right before our eyes. They are rapidly changing and so are their needs. It’s an exciting and exasperating time because although we love watching them mature into young men, we find ourselves in uncharted territory as parents. It’s so hard to keep up with it all and as parenting often does, we are faced with new challenges every day in how to raise these kids in whatever season we’re in.
While I’m treading this unfamiliar territory, I’ve learned there are five things teen boys need from their moms.
So, dear daughter, listen to me, okay? Let me tell you the truth so you don’t believe the lies that permeate this competitive academic culture you must endure. Let me help you manage the unrelenting stress that our country’s educational systems have forced upon you. Let me give you the much-needed perspective and hopefully, a bit of peace about this maddening season of your life. You only need to truly understand one thing: Your grades don't define you.
My daughter is wrapping up her sophomore year in high school and things are changing rapidly. I’ve gradually become aware that my parenting ways are changing, shifting into preparing my kid for independence, and the more I think about, the scarier it gets and the more frantic I feel.
Because it’s in these tough lessons where you grow. It’s in these hard moments where you learn. It’s during these rough times where you grapple through your consequences and figure out how to pick up the pieces, or dust off your breeches, or face your failures, with newfound strength to pull you through.
If I swooped in the save you, if I dove in to rescue you, if I scooped each circumstance up into my hands and took care of things for you- how would you ever learn to do it all for yourself?
I’ve never seen you cry this hard. I’ve never seen you feel this hurt. I know this pain is unbearable and you feel it will never end. I’m crushed for you, devastated too. This wasn’t how you expected things to go. You never imagined it would turn out this way. I know, sweet girl. I know.
You’re off to school away from home for the first time and I know this is so hard. You’re far from your comfort zone, your safe place, in a world that is all so new. It’s terrifying and I know you want to leave and come back to your familiar life with trusted friends and the security of your family. I know you miss your bedroom and all the old hiding places that give you protection. I know this is all too much, too fast.
One Day at a Time,...
I hugged you goodbye as you got into your car and drove to school for your first day of Junior Year. How did this even happen? You look so old, so wise, so much older and wiser than you are…You are self-assured, prepared, and ready to move forward in this fast-speeding world you live in. You’re racing down a road full of sharp corners that take you farther and farther into your future. And yet, you’re only 16.
There are some things I want you to know before you begin this exciting new school year. There are expectations and responsibilities that are important and necessary for you to continue to uphold because we want you to not only become a successful student, we want to raise you to become a good man.
And as you get older, there will be so much more for you to manage, to learn, and to understand. You’re still a kid, so don’t expect to be #adulting when you still have lots of growing up to do. You still need me to parent you.
I know that getting your driver’s permit is an exciting time! You’ve waited a long time for this, but before you start the engine and put your hands at 10 and 2, I need to tell you my rules for learning to drive.
8 Rules for A New Driver:
I know it’s hard to get along. I know you two are as different as night and day and it seems right now, every tiny little itty-bitty thing each of you does irritates the other to no end. The constant bickering back and forth is unnerving and honestly, disappointing. I expect better from both of you; however, I also understand that it’s these years where you are both growing in your own separate ways...
But here’s the thing: you are connected for life as siblings and that is a gift you will someday appreciate.
Since your first day of school, we have prayed together every single day while I drove you to pre-school, grade school, middle school, and high school. Through every grade, every year, on the way to every school, we never missed a day. It’s been part of our early morning drives that have started our day off with the One who created it, and my gosh, what a glorious gift that’s been.
For 16 years, you have come home from work every day and stepped in to parent our kids. You always take the time to build strong relationships with our kids, spending time with each of them and caring about how they are doing. They depend on you to show up because you always have. You never miss a game, a match, a meet, a ceremony where your kids are involved, because your dedication to your kids far exceeds your own needs. You always ask me how you can help with it all because you’re so invested in our family and committed to raising our kids together.
You have always been my rock, my refuge, my comforter and encourager when I needed you most. We have faced many storms together through all these years, and every time the waves come crashing into our lives, you have anchored me in with your assuring words: “Everything’s going to be OK.”