Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trouble with Teenagers

Soda Jerks Operating the School Fountain as Part of Their Training Course

In this modern culture, teenagers are not who they used to be. Remember the 1950's when children were respectful and family-oriented? Those were idyllic days. Fast forward to 2010. We have a rebellious, angry generation who are drawn to ungodliness and the world around them.

Why am I sitting here at my computer, in the middle of the night, writing about this? Because I am suffering. Normally, in this house, we have peace and joy. But right now, all is not well.  I have chest pains, anxiety attacks and just cannot cope. I need peace. I need to write through my pain so I can get through the night.

I have spent all my years as a mother, sowing seeds of righteousness and godliness into my children. But the harvest is wounded.  Some of my older children are going through mighty trials and I can't handle the ride. I am weary. I lost my sense of humor. I am speechless. I am mute.

But I am going to turn this around. I am going to give you some ideas of things I've done in the past to get through the rough storms. I will do this to regain my bearings. It is my hope that this writing will clear my aching soul and make me well again:

1.  Photo Album

Whenever one of my teenage daughters was giving me a hard time, I would look through old pictures of her, from when she was a precious little girl. I would smile at the image of her sweet, innocent face. What a treasure! I would remember all her fun antics and my tears would be gone. I would remember that there is a child inside that hardened heart and the difficult moment would pass - then all would be well again.

I plan to make photo albums for the rest of the children, so I have more of an eternal perspective, rather than a struggle with "right now." I want to remember that they will grow out of the difficult phase and things will get better. The pictures help keep me calm and soften my heart for them.

2. She is the Cheese.

Have you seen that commercial on television about the cheese?  There is this large, round block of cheese. A technician, wearing a white coat, walks into the room. He is holding a clipboard with a checklist that says:

_______ Ready.

_______ Not Ready.

As soon as he walks in, the cheese starts making fun of him and laughing. The Tech. takes his pen and marks off "not ready." When he turns to walk away, we see a "kick-me" sign on his back. We are told that the cheese is not yet mature.

The Tech walks in on another day and the cheese is still being foolish. The Tech walks away again. Then finally, on the last day, he walks in and the cheese says something like, "How are you today sir?" The cheese is polite. The Tech marks "Ready" and says the cheese has aged and is now mature.

The other day, one of my children was hostile and acting up. I scolded that child and remained calm. I let the moment pass. Then I told that child that she was "the cheese" and I laughed and smiled and explained the commercial.  It was my way of coping through the moment and we all enjoyed the comparison. Everything was okay.

3. A Sense of Humor Rather than giving in to Anger.

I can't always be happy.... (big surprise, right?) . . But, I do try to keep my sense of humor. One day last week, I had a frustrated teen yell, and then storm out the back door. I didn't know where this teen was going, so I went out after this child. I found the teen just standing outside in the back yard. "What are you doing?" I asked. The teen just looked at me, held up its hands and said, in an aggravated tone, "I'm right here!"  I smiled and said, "Well, I didn't know where you were going or what you were going to do. What did you expect me to think with that grand exit of yours?" Suddenly, we both laughed. Everything was okay. The bad mood was gone and we were smiling.

4. Sad Stories

I was sitting in the car, reading a precious story. It was about this godly Jewish mother who had three sons. She raised them to be pious. Throughout their childhood, they attended Shul every single day. They also attended Jewish schools and were taught to live out their faith. But those boys grew up and married secular wives. They had secular children. They stopped practicing the faith they had known and cherished. They had been pulled away by worldly wives. This broke their mother's heart. One day, when this Mother died, the grown men were devastated. They went over the eulogy and funeral plans with the Rabbi and begged him to explain what a wonderful, godly woman their mother was. They were so heartbroken and wanted their mother to be praised. Later, as they stood at the funeral, they could not be consoled. They wept and each one touched the casket as it was being lowered into the ground. One of the men whispered, through heavy tears, "We're sorry Mama."

My heart broke and I wept in the car as I read that. You see, it isn't about me... I must learn the lesson- the lesson that none of this is personal. The trials my children are going through is God working in and through their lives to mold them and make them into his image. And yet, the fiery furnace singes me at times and I am hurt. But I must remain peaceful and trust my precious Lord that all will be well in the end.

I must retain my composure and stop letting their foolishness get to me. I must take it to God, let go of it, and then laugh and be cheerful and enjoy my Bible, prayers and hymns. One day, these children will be mature, they will also be spiritually mature and I will finally reap that harvest I have been waiting for all these years.

May it be so.

Mrs. White
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The Machinist's Wife said...

I understand fully. Hugs...

Deanna said...

Dear Mrs. White,
You are precious! God bless you during this time with not so easy to be around teens. May God give you strength and more strength.

Thinking of you,

Debbie S. said...

I am sorry for the turmoil right now. I know that when my teen is hurting, so am I. It's really hard during these years to know exactly what to do or say.
I pray God will give you peace and direction.

As I was reading I was reminded of the verse "train up a child". Sometimes we have to rest in the fact that we've done all we can in our own power, and that at some point, God needs to do the rest.

Find your joy today and let your kids see you shine. Rest in HIM.


Cindy said...

I feel your pain. Oh the heartaches of the teen years. Many times I have wanted to return to the "easy" days of toddlerhood. I didn't enjoy the time then and I am doing the same thing now. Not enjoying the NOW! Working on that :)
You are so right when you say that "it isn't about me". That fact alone is comforting. God working in my child to bring them to where HE wants them. And we know there is no better place, even though sometimes I think I know better.
I will be praying for their journey and yours.

Pebblekeeper said...

Thank you Mrs. White! I had a run in with a teen niece this week that stayed as our guest. My boys still have eyes the size of quarters for how she hormonally behaved. I know my turn's a comin'. Keep writing from your heart - share with us as you get through these days - so we know we are not alone when they hit us. My God Is Great - and has a plan for my boys. :) He put me here to walk through this time with them.
I'm glad you go after your girls with love and protection and humor. :)

Cassie said...

I just wanted to tell you ty for sharing this. I have a 13yo daughter who we are dealing with the same types of things. And now my 10yo son is picking up some of her bad attitude and habits. It is so very rough to go through and feel like you are at a loss to do anything about it. Ty for reminding me that Gos IS in control and he DOES have a plan! And for the great advice on how to get through those really tough moments. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. White I missed this post earlier this week. I have some good news for you! I was one of those rebellious teens (I think it stems from my parents divorce). I was pregnant before marriage and I am sure I broke my mothers heart into a million little pieces with that. But with the birth of my son also came my salvation. Or I guess I should say my re-salvation. I promised my aunt that I would take my son to church and at first it was just to please her but God had a plan and from that plan came my salvation and my husbands salvation. I think that sometimes people go through these times and coming out of them makes them stronger. I pray that my children do no have to learn the hard way like I did but if they do I will stand strong knowing that I trained them up in the way that they should go and pray that they will come back to their faith!

Sarah L.

Amanda @ Better Is Little said...

Thank you for this...I needed this this morning. :)

proverbs31heart said...

An excellent article! Thank you so much for sharing. It really ministered to this mother's heart this morning. Thank you!

Sharri said...

I so appreciate your candidness here. It is hard sometimes to be "real" when you blog and show that things aren't always perfect. Thank you for having courage to blog painful moments as well as joys.
This is an older post, and I hope that things have resolved and are peaceful today. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I was young and now am old. I've both been one of those rebels and have had them. I understand what they go through. Your attitude is wonderful and I applaud you.

It hurts you to watch the struggles, but the butterfly never gets strength in its wings without struggle. Life is a struggle, but when they are grown they will be strong.

Keep up the humor and if you cry, cry to the Lord. A hurt is never wasted. Keep praying for them.
You will get through it and so will they. Try not to give up.

Jer. 29:ll- God has a plan for you as well as your children and he will bring you all back to him.
Ecc.3- everything has a season and a time under heaven.
This may be the struggling time, but there will be a time of peace and contentment too. Its the light at the end of the tunnel.

God was a perfect parent and his children still rebelled against him. They had to struggle with some natural consequences and so will our children.

I'll be praying for you and your family.
Mrs. J.

KatieL said...

Thank you for this column! I know it is several years old but the topic applies to my current life. As a Jewish reader, I thank
you for using an interfaith example (though I pray my children do not lead secular lives when adults.)

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