I witnessed a conversation recently that got me thinking, “is our way of life the way it ought to be?”
The conversation, let’s just say for anonymity’s sake, was between person A and person B where they were discussing the travails of raising teenagers. Person A has children ranging from 25 to 36, so they had already been through the teenage years while person B is now at the teenage stage with their kids.
Person B shared a recent story about his 16 year old going off to camp, and his mother discovered a condom in his front pocket. The father (person B) was telling this story and said in one hand he was proud that his son was prepared, but on the other hand, he was horrified. Yet, with a shrug of shoulders, he brushed it off as just part of growing up.
Person A said with a hint of sarcasm “oh our kids never did anything wrong, never drank, never did drugs, had sex, never!” And of course this was followed by laughter and an understanding and an acceptance that this is what kids did.
That’s it??? We are just to accept that, as our children reach the teenage years, it is normal and accepted practice that teens will be teens and sex, drinking, and even minor drug use (hopefully only minor use) is part of the growing up process, almost a rite of passage if you will. And this is okay? Do we not think this behavior carries drastic social and emotional consequences that are really unnecessary? Being a teen is hard enough, so why do we think adding these other negative elements is just part of the processes?
And I sat there thinking “really? Should we just accept this premise? Kids are going to do it and we just have to pray they make it out alive or at least not scarred for life by the dumb decisions that come along with being a child who believes they are invincible?”
I mean, I admit, that is how I lived. I was pretty good until my senior year, which, by the way, is a testament to how my mother watched over me and raised me as my friends were years ahead of me! So if it was okay for me then it should be for all future generations right? Well, I am not so sure about that.
As I watched and listed to this conversation, I began recalling my evening before. My family and I had dinner with a family that homeschools their children.
I remembered a story the family told my wife and I about a 14 year old that joined their homeschool group and he just did not fit in. In short, he was a “typical” teen who cursed and watched inappropriate movies among other things. One day, he began chastising the other boys in the group for not seeing this movie or that movie and one of the family’s boys spoke up and told him they had no interest in movies like that and had more taste in the things they watched and the activities they did! Good for you dude!
I have met these kids. I have met other homeschool children. For the most part they are the same. They are pious. They are respectful. They are mature beyond their years while maintaining a certain innocence that, in so many ways, is refreshing and encouraging. Some may confuse their innocence with naivety. But I contend they are age appropriate, a renaissance to a time where the innocence of youth was heralded as opposed to mocked.
So as I watched this conversation between person A and B, I began to realize we can do better. We do not have to accept this mediocrity and despicable behavior.
Yes, I concurred, there is another way. We just need the courage to pursue it!