"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, September 24, 2010

Always room to grow

I read somewhere (I can't remember where or I'd share my source) that most arguments with pre-teen to teen-age kids could be avoided if parents would allow themselves to grow with their children.

At first I scoffed.

I don't want my children to grow up. I want to keep them as they are right now. I like moving as a group without any external interruptions. They all work well together. Bringing in a third party sometimes rocks the boat. Let one go off with friends and those left behind pine and grump about the favors granted to the one. Not to mention, my mind has to constantly roam about one being missing, wondering what they are up to, remembering to go get them. I like having all of my eggs in one basket all of the time. I like having a set bedtime where everyone disappears at once giving me a minute of "me" time at the end of my night. I like things my way and my way is a one size fits all plan.

But ... They are growing up. And I've got to grow up with them and trust that they will make correct decisions based on what we've been teaching them.

Yes, I'd prefer it if they wouldn't listen to the popular music out there. But, I'm oh so pleased when I hear them turn off a song that they, themselves, deem inappropriate.

Yes, I have no desire to take my daughter and her friends hither thither and yon (aren't they still too young for that?). But, I get a really warm feeling inside as I'm driving along listening to their innocent banter in the back seat and realize that she really knows how to choose great friends.

Yes, I worried to death about putting my 6th grade son on a high school bus to get to Jr. High, but have been so relieved to hear of his efforts to separate himself from the muck that goes on there.

Yes, I dislike that the boys are starting to look at the girls and the girls at the boys (aren't the still too young for that?). But, if I listen without passing judgement, I hear all openly and need not worry about their own decisions.

And yeah, I do miss the days when they all went off to bed at our designated time. But love, love, love to have the older ones stay a minute longer on the foot of my bed to tell all about who's doing what at school, church and everywhere in between.

So, maybe it's true. Teach them correctly, watch them as they grow, and trust in their ability to make good choices. The milestones are going to happen and I want to be there. The teen stuff is coming, like it or not. Inside, I'll grit my teeth but if I can do it, growing with them will build a better relationship and hopefully, they will stay close.

And maybe one day, I'll be able to grow into the knowledge that in no time at all, I'll have children driving my cars.

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