As a teen and young adult, I swore I'd remember what it felt like to be that age. I committed to recalling the emotions, needs and impulses of youth so that I would NEVER forget. Being pooh-poohed (as in 'get over it' which wasn't said back then but a variation was) got on my nerves. I planned to grow up and still be able to relate to youth.
Oh yeah. I worked with youth groups for about the first ten years of my ministry. I was clever, creative and available to kids and thought of myself as aware of their interior lives, etc. I felt I "related" to them.
Now I have teens. The roles are reversed. I'm the big ogre of parental insensitivity. I have no understanding of what it means to be a young person.
I agree with my critics who often starch me with hot looks to show how ancient my perspective has become. My critics are searching, learning and full of themselves. They can talk endlessly about anything and know more than I will ever know.
The critics live in our home and are fed at my table. I wash their clothing and hand out signed permission slips and cash. I run their errands, anticipate their needs and am cook, nursemaid and cleaning woman.
Before I tear off into the tangent of being an over-worked, under-appreciated Mom, let me return to the intent of this post.
I don't understand. I remember, as I said I would, what it is like to be shy, unsure of oneself, what it is like to view time as one new experience after another. I do. What I don't "get" anymore is why it isn't easier for them to siphon off my experience and advice so that they can avoid the mistakes I made. How much easier it would be for them if they could.
I couldn't take my parent's experiences and use them for my own. My children can't appropriate our experiences. Not much, at least.
The difference between us is that I've experienced many things many times.
I don't care much about what I wear. If I look stupid, I can deal with it. I know how to pick friends and seldom get into problems with my friends. I know how to deal with teachers and authority figures. I know how to plan my time so I can get my work finished and have time to play. If I have to lead something, I lead it. I know how to tell someone to mind their own business and stay out of mine calmly. I'm not scared of girls or boys.
My prayer this morning is that I will be alert to my children's needs and interior lives to the extent I am able and that I will relate to them with love. I ask for wisdom, too, that I not dash hopes or stifle them.