Today, my boy came back. He’s been away for a few months and it was good to have the old him back home. Well if I’m honest, the physical “he” never left but as a 14 year old, he’s been off pushing boundaries, testing identities and challenging systems for the last couple of months and why not? To actualise the real him and to understand him better, it’s been a very worthwhile experience, if not a rather stressful one for all who are on looking.
Now he’s not been up to mischief or creating mayhem per se but what are the teenage years all about if not a time to work out exactly who we are, where we stand in life, what we want to be, where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, what we’re going to need to get there and of course, who is going to join us on that journey into adulthood. It’s a time, when we go through adolescence with hormones surging a pace through systems that are ill-equipped to deal with the impact, minds developing but maybe not at the rate our hormones or emotions are and generally our identities between thrown here there and everywhere in a race to know exactly who we are in a place, say the 21st century, that by and large hasn’t really caught up with the evolving technological and advanced society that we have created in the last few number of years.
Yep – teenage years – the beginning of the reality that hits with a bang when we wake up and think “Oh my god, I’m not a child anymore – hello world! I’ve arrived and to prove it I’m here!” And then to compound it all – the enthusiasm, the lust for life or even the frustration that we’re not actually adult but so desperately want to be treated like them – there are obstacles! Obstacles that constrict, constrain and generally get in the way of doing exactly what we want to do, at times we want to do it, in ways that appear confusing to the teenage adolescent mind if not blatently obvious to the public at large. But that is exactly where the “public at large” ie. the families, friends and communities that house our growing teenage flock need to step up to the mark and remember their own teenage years.
It’s a time when expectations need to be put to one side and a pure world centric drive to nurture autonomy in our teenagers has to take a priority. The time when we don’t inflict an adult world onto teenage shoulders but take a step back to remember how it was for us. Do we remember being 13 or even 14, 15 or 16 years old. It’s a time to encourage communal values and to bring our teenagers to honour the standards that they have had upheld in their formative childhood years. But most of all it’s a time for upmost tolerance and patience, understanding and respect. It’s a time to bite tongues and to ask questions that bring out the best, focus on what is going right and to uphold the good that is happening rather than the turmoil that might be left in the wake of some teenage “life-experiments”.
My old school motto was “hold fast to that which is good”. Parenting through the teenage years is exactly that. Hold fast to the good and as far as is feasibly possible move on from anything else.
Yes – today my boy came back. Well to be honest – he didn’t really come back but he emerged a more resilient, more autonomous, more wonderful, better equipped boy with a greater understanding of the world around him. And bravo is what I say! We’ll be holding fast to that for sure!