Thoughts on Teens

I’ve been holding on to this picture since John’s sweet sixteen. I knew I’d eventually share it when the time was right.

This is my counter full of cards from John’s teenage friends on his last birthday. And, 10 months later, it still nearly brings me to tears to look at it.

You see, I think that teenagers get a bad rap. I was just reading a post in a local group about them. In fact, I read a lot of them. Every time I want to shout from the rooftop that we shouldn’t stereotype a generation based on past generations, personal behavior, or one bad apple. Instead, I’ll just tell y’all how much I adore the teenagers in my life.

On John’s birthday, his friends arrived with cards (yes, even the one that reads “son” was from a friend). Store bought cards, cards they probably found in their mom’s stash and cards they hand made. Inside each and every one was paragraph upon paragraph of kindness, joy, jokes and care, drawings, scrawlings and signatures. They were wonderful – a true gift – and, to be honest, unexpected from this digital generation. Once his birthday had passed, I tied them with a ribbon and put them in his memory box alongside baby bibs, mementos, photos and awards.

The teens that I have the pleasure to know are amazing kids. They work hard, they are loyal to each other, they are polite, and they are kind. They carry on intelligent and provoking discussions about world events, their studies, sports and pop culture. But they are also as funny as can be, constantly making each other – and any adult nearby – laugh til it hurts. There is no better sound than the pure, unadulterated laughter of a child. Nearly every single teen I know works and volunteers on top of sports and school. Their ability to accept others and refrain from judgment is awe-inspiring and being around them makes me be a better person too. I am SO proud of my teens and am incredibly grateful for their friends.

These kids are our future. Let’s not criticize and belittle them. Let’s listen to them, love them, lead them and respect them. I *think* that’s really all they want.

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Teens

  1. I LOVE this post. I completely agree, while I’m just entering the teen years with my son (13 on Saturday!) almost all teens I am around are just the best and I always try to let them know and also their parents as well for doing a good job raising them!

  2. What an awesome post!! And words that more adults (and teens) need to hear. I did not look forward to having teenagers, I thought they were silly, loud, and obnoxious. My kids and their friends quickly changed my mind. I’ve been blessed to have wonderful teens in my life.

  3. I so agree! While my 2 are out of their teen years, I said the same thing when they were going through them. It just was not my experience that the group was any of the negative things that so many want to label them. Do they make mistakes? Absolutely! But they are supposed to, that’s how we learn! I think anytime we want to label a group as having “x” behavior we are doing not only them, but ourselves, a disservice. If we are open to getting to know people of different ages, races, political beliefs I believe that we will learn that most people truly are good and are just trying to do their best.

  4. Great post. I raised two sons who are now 30 and 33. Throughout their high school and college years and beyond they surrounded themselves with amazing friends, both girls and guys. The accomplishments of all these teens turned adults is beyond impressive. Their view of the world, their inclusiveness and big ideas is our future. Hopefully, the teens that give their generation a bad rap is a small percentage. Wait until your boys go to college…they will soar!

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