Saturday, September 13, 2008

Things I hope I remember when our Daughter is 16

I was contemplating how Naomi will be when she is in that resistant-to-parents teenage phase, which nowadays is happening in tweens, so by the time culture catches up with itself, she'll be 7 when this all explodes, but I won't change my title yet. What are some practical practices that we could implement, which at the time she may dislike us for doing them, but when she is married and has her own children, she will look back at these practices and see them as valuable. How about a "Family Blackout" where cell phones, beepers (who knows if they'll exist), computer chips in the fingertips, mini computers, and all electronics are shut off for a said amount of family time. Maybe every night during dinner?

I remember when I was about 16, I wrote a list in my journal: "Things I'll remember that my parents did that I hated." I wrote this list so that when I had children of my own, I would remember how "imposing" on my life they were, those beings who I was definitely smarter than, and how they didn't have a clue about life. It's mostly a rant of those typical labors of love that parents set up and boundaries put in place to protect me that I could not understand as a child. When they are laced with, "stay out of my business" and "don't give me a curfew" it is clear that they are out of childlike misunderstanding and frustration.

Where was the gap in communication? I know they were practical boundaries and reasonable labors of love, but what chemical in my teenage mind led me to believe that my parents, those who love me most in the world, were totally out to get me? This is probably that unanswerable mystery of teenage life.

I do have a very good rapport with my HS students, however. I'm not their friend, but an authority who respects them as emerging adults, and somehow they know that I work with their best interest in mind.