As parents we get busy. We have morning routines, school, sports, work, cleaning the house, just to name a few. This can quickly become a rut where “raising our kids” means just getting to bed time with as few arguments and injuries as possible. A dear friend of mine said that we have opportunities flying past us everyday, but we miss them because we’re too distracted.
Our kids represent great opportunities. Their lives are very moldable. In fact, they require it. If we don’t, someone will. And when “someone” does it usually leads to frustration on our part. By default, your teen wants to be led, or another way to say it is shaped by you. My kids were watching the documentary of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famed body builder, recently. My opinion had always been ‘what’s the big deal? he has big muscles like all of the other guys’. During his interview he’s asked what separates him. Arnold had won Mr. Olympia several times in a row when his competitors couldn’t win a single time. His answer: (I’ll paraphrase) My competition are scientists and I’m an artist. He’s the sculptor and his body is the clay. As parents, we can read all of the books and go to all of the seminars to get all of the education, but the simple truth is that it’s not only education. Parenting your teen is also equal parts ‘You’. Your creativity, your experience, your perspective.
There’s great imagery here for parents. Our teens know nothing as they enter the world. It’s true that they have their own ‘leanings’, but it’s our responsibility, as parents, to see their leanings and encourage them, shape them, and lead them into their life fully ready to be independent individuals. This might start by defining what your family does and doesn’t stand for. Maybe teaching them to iron, cook, create a monthly budget, basic car maintenance. Preparing them for the next stage of their life by sculpting them into the masterpiece they were created to be.