As the clouds rolled in we saw a father bent down with finger pointing at his (roughly) 9 year old son. No one was on the field, the cones and field markers were packed and gone. He yelled and pointed, the displeasure with his so evident. The boy wasn’t as tall as the dad’s armpits, who was bent over, pointing at the boy, the anger and displeasure clear – Anger about pee wee football with a nine year old who is still 4 years from puberty.
Posts Tagged ‘parenting’
Two events this month reminded me how important it is for those who are married to have a vibrant bond with their spouse, partner, or whatever term they use. Joel Osteen, a pastor I don’t normally read, wrote an article that challenged married readers to be ‘beautiful’ in marriage. What does it mean to be a beautiful person to live with? To share a life together? Many couples tend to lose sight of this and focus on the things the other person does wrong or apparently lacks. Critical attitudes seem to rule the day as the years add up, and parenting children/teenagers often doesn’t help, and defensiveness rises up and fuels the divides at home. But, what would it look like for you and I to be beautiful spouses, and beautiful to our wives/husbands, today? That may be a question worth asking yourself as part of your morning routine. It’s become one for me.
The second event was a wedding that I helped officiate in the wonderful city of Zacatecas, Mexico for two former students of mine, one of whom was also in my youth group 13 years ago. It was a fantastic wedding, yet the cross-cultural and multi-lingual aspects of the wedding created a planning/preparation process full of many twists and turns for the bride. And many details weren’t finalized until hours before the wedding. So, there was a rushed atmosphere right up until the ceremony. During the wedding, I had the best view of the couple and enjoyed watching them talk to each other, sharing their feelings, and demonstrating the close bond that these two ‘best friends’ had for each other on this day. It reminded me of my wedding day and that, 24 years later, Kelly remains my best friend and the love of my life.
I had a conversation last month with a youth worker about a junior high student in her small group. The adult lamented about the up-and-down on-off relationship she was having with this student, punctuated with self-doubt as to whether the student was rejecting her. I remembering quoting some comments from a book I’ve recommended and stopped to realize the staying power that this 1984 class has had 27 years later. I think When Junior Highs Invade Your Home by Cliff Schimmels is still one of the best books on young adolescents that I have ever read. You can still purchase some at Amazon.
Now, before you reject this post and move on to the latest Bieber blog, please note two things: read more…
I ran across a blog that cited recent well-chronicled research showing an increased number of teens in the United States wait to get their driver’s license. Less than half of the country’s 17 year old’s had licenses and only 30% of 16-year-old’s did, a drop from 44.7% of 16-year-old’s in 1988. As is the case with widespread social trends, there are numerous issues contributing to this change. Here are a few cited as contributing factors to this change:
- Schools have been cutting back on offering drivers’ education classes and charging more for the classes that are offered. The time and cost have made it less convenient.
- Summer schedules for teens fill with other activities, making a month’s worth of driving instruction less possible than it would have been 10 years. It may not be a major factor, but it does play a role for some families.
- States have implemented graduated licenses that delayed what having a license allowed. For instance, in many states, a 16-year-old can drive, but couldn’t drive with non-family members in the car. So, the social benefits for having a car are quite different from a decade ago. However, even once a teen gets a license, he/she is limited in whether they can “haul” – carry non-family members.
- The digital age makes driving less desirable. Some research supports this. Youth can connect virtually, so having a car to get with friends is less necessary.
- Youth are involved in more activities and are used to being driven around by parents, so why drive until later?
- Some anecdotal research suggests that environmental concerns play a role. Surprised? That warrants some future exploration.
- Another explanation is that this is symptomatic of the extended adolescence of our current Western world, a development reality called “Emerging Adulthood.” Since parents are more enabling of teens, they are, then, less “ready” to drive. And, then, this is seen as being less mature, less ready to be responsible.
I occasionally watch a TV show that features “high school” kids and I look at them with a developmental eye and think, “It’s been a long time since they were teenagers.” It started for me when Happy Days was the most popular show in the 1970s, featuring a cast of actors who were very mature for high schoolers. During the first season, Ron Howard was 20 years old, but played young high schooler “Richie Cunningham.” Don Most (Ralph Malph) was 21 while Anson Williams (Warren “Potsie) was 24 years old. Henry Winkler, who played dropout Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli was 29 years old in the first season, though meant to depict a high school – aged kid.
The phenomenon of an older actor playing a teenager is nothing new. Directors who use college-aged students or older get a more developed voice, greater poise, and a more developed physique than from younger less-trained actors. If the show includes singing and dancing, the voices are stronger with greater range and tone, and the dancing is stronger.
This week I’ve been reflecting on grace a bit and how little of it there is between people, even in Christian circles where grace is an overarching theological theme. Yesterday I tried to be graceful to a semi-truck driver as he made the turn onto a bridge and couldn’t quite swing it. Since I once drove truck for a summer, I could instantly relate and I didn’t advance in my left turn lane (coming toward him) as the light turned red. He could then make the swing-out and not block 3 lanes of traffic indefinitely. He appreciated it. Lovely.
Except the guy behind me thought differently. As soon as I did this, he started yelling out his window. The whole delay cost him about 7 seconds, but as he drove past me (and we still made the light), he proceeded to say some ugly ugly things to me. For being graceful.
This week we’ve been thinking about grace, a word that is used a lot in Christian circles, but seems more difficult to put into practice with others. Yesterday we used U2′s fantastic song “Grace” as our starting point. One of the lines in the piece states “Grace finds beauty in everything.”
This is best illustrated when a child’s art project suddenly collapses or breaks and a parent steps in to help show what beauty remains. The child is in tears and fears that nothing good can come while the parent lovingly moves in and begins to help reassemble, rearrange, and repair. In a few minutes, the child begins to see that all is not lost and he/she regains hope for making something beautiful again. As the child moves back to creating, the parent begins to step aside and watch the child work happily.