Monday, July 24, 2006


So many times, we hear negative things about teenagers – how much trouble they are, how much trouble they cause, how hard they are to raise. Having a couple of pre-teens, Marcel and I are often warned about the teen years and so we’ve assumed it was a time to dread. We’ve heard all the horror stories of teen angst, troubles in school, hormones, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., and it doesn’t look pretty. "Just you wait" is a commonly-heard phrase.

Lately, however, I’ve been struck by the number of really decent likeable teenagers around us, and I have been hugely encouraged. Last night was a good example. We were at a barbecue at our friends’ Yvonne and George’s along with a few other families. Our kids were the youngest ones there. After supper, while the adults relaxed on the deck, watching the sun set over the trees (aaahhhh :-), the kids played a rousing game of soccer in their large backyard.

Nikki and Julie played with the group of mostly teen boys, and it was a delight to watch. Either they were just exceptional teens and they would have turned out well regardless, or our friends are doing a bang-up job of raising decent teens. They were so great to our girls. And not just in a patronizing “we have to be nice to the young kids because the adults are watching” kind of way, but in a respectful, generous, “we like hanging out with these kids” way. I was really touched by it, and I know that my girls felt genuinely valued as members of the soccer teams.

I guess that’s part of the beauty of raising kids in a meaningful community, where people of all ages respect and like each other. I really like my friends’ teenage kids. They’re decent and respectful, and I’m glad my daughters have good role models. I guess we’ll just have to keep surrounding ourselves with great teens and maybe we’ll get lucky when our girls reach that stage.


Bobita said...

You are one lucky woman! I hope that I am as lucky...to find wonderful teen-mentors for my kids! I think it makes an incredible impact on young kids...to observe the behavior of older kids. And it sounds like you have found some excellent role models!

Susan "Just you wait" Plett said...

Nah. One of the decentest teenagers I know is marvelous to everyone, and horrible to her mother, but then again, everyone else isn't curtailing her independence like those pesky parents are.

Gina said...

I don't think luck will have anything to do with it! It will be because you guys are such great parents that the girls will be such gems. And they will be!

The very nice man said...

Someone once said that we should 'litter our children's path with opportunities'. Seems to me that you guys are trying to do exactly that!
We got 4 kids ourselves and we know it is not always easy but it is so good to read about parents such as yourselves who love and care for their children rather than seeing them as 'a problem' or 'an inconvenience'.
Your children will be fine and they will be your best friends when they are adults.
That will be my prayer for you.

Judy said...

We had our struggles with our three as teens, but it was minimal.

I actually enjoyed it! Seeing life through their eyes was a joy. A scary joy at times, but a joy still.

Liz said...

I think I almost prefer having teenagers to toddlers. I have had some fun conversations with them lately and very few problems. So far so good!

Simply Coll said...

I loved it when my kids where teenagers. I loved watching and listening to their chatter and experiences. Yes.. we had a few rough moments.. but over all they were great years. Now my children are grown and my two grand kids are entering their teens. I am so impressed at what good kids they are. And I am so proud of the parenting my own children have provided. I guess what goes around .. comes around.