Teenagers were always cooler than me. They still are. That's not exactly scary, I know, but I get kindof awkward around them. I don't know what to say. I don't know what pop culture references to make. I don't get the pop culture references they make.
But, I must say, I know some pretty cool teenagers, and I love the ones I know. Like my 16-yr-old sister, and my pastors' girls, and my cousins' children, and our friends down the street. I guess I was just afraid of the ones I don't know.
When I was in East Texas after Christmas, we were hanging with John's cousin, David's, family. His wife is Becky and they have two teenage daughters. Becky is the vice-principal at Quitman High School and told us a story that confirmed my fears.
Apparently they have infrared cameras installed on the school busses down there, as protection against lawsuits and theft detection. So, these 10 kids were on a bus coming back from some competition at night, the principal was driving, and it turned out that all the kids were having sex on the bus. And the school had it on tape. And it was Becky's job to watch the tape to figure out who everyone was and inform their parents. Most of whom declared their children would never do something like that until they saw the proof.
I said, "This is why I'm afraid of teenagers. Present company excluded of course"
Becky's oldest daughter, Shelbi, is a high school senior and her boyfriend, Joe, is a freshman at Texas A&M, and he's a really cool guy. Joe was with us that night and he proved me wrong.
He said, "It's only the teenagers that make trouble who get in the news. The news doesn't care who made the honor roll or got a scholarship to college. Most of us are good kids."
And I heard myself from 18 years ago trying to make the same argument to adults who talked about how awful teenagers were.
I got to thinking about all the awesome teenagers I know right now, the ones whose parents I had been planning to ship my kids off to once they're teenagers. And these kids really are world-changers because they care about others and obey their parents and are sweet and cute, too. Why would I be afraid of these people?
Even more, I kindof got excited about actually raising teenagers. Because that's a pretty essential part of raising children and helping them turn into world-changing adults. If I can have the kind of teenagers that make other people less afraid of them, then I've done my job.
So, thanks Joe. Thank you for helping me get over my fear and reminding me that teenagers are people, too.
Here we are with two of our favorite teens, Shelbi and Skylar. (Photo by Joe)
(aren't they cute?)