1 week, 2 moms, 7 teens
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
May I add 1 van, a tture. Two moms took 7 teens from our church, ranging from 14-18 years of age , representing 5 families, to a finon of snacks and an 18 hour drive ? What is this about, you may wonder. This is about last week's advene arts youth competition. They all made it through regionals and placed for nationals. So off we went. When I told a friend, she said," I'm glad you pray". As in "This sounds hard, what are you thinking?"
Let me bust a myth here. Teens are supposed to be rebellious, rude, selfish, back talking....you fill in the rest. You've heard it. You might have even said it yourself. Oh no, the teen years. Better hold your breath! Lock them in a room till they turn 24. They turn into aliens. Right? Isn't that what we are made to believe about teens in our culture?
This is NOT the experience I've had with this group, and many, many other teens that have been to my house over the years. May I remind you, I have 6 children, ranging from 12 to 24 years of age, and the teen years are just kind of never ending with so many kids. :)
This is my experience over the years and especially exemplified last week:
teens are kind
teens are respectful
teens are considerate
teens are compassionate
teens are helpful
teens are polite
teens are honest
teens are friendly
teens are ambitious
teens are hard working
teens are fearless
teens are loving
teens are passionate
teens are chill
teens make a difference
teens desire truth
teens are good at communicating
and most of all :
teens are so much FUN.
We had a blast. We shared a 2 bedroom apartment and an additional hotel room. The biggest obstacle we had , was with the rental, and that we weren't allowed to stay together, therefore the additional hotel room. They were so flexible with all of that. No complaining. No fighting. No whining. We were on a budget and they were OK with that. Peanut butter and jelly rolled up in flat bread? check. Pita pockets with chicken , without plates , eaten in front of the convention center? check. Spaghetti and meatballs at 9:30 pm? check. Getting up around 4 am for the ride there and back? check. The only time we had to go "mom mode", is when we had to get some vitamins into one teen who got a cold. The other two, who had colds, were used to swallowing mom's essential oil concoctions!
We had absolutely no trouble going to and fro the convention center. They stayed in groups. Like we asked. Houston is a big city and we were one metro stop away from the convention center. Lots of homeless people around. And sometimes we got home late. We had no issues. They were respectful of going home with us or staying in a group to be safe. They had fun. They showed up with their talents and gave their best performances for the competition. They cheered each other on and complimented each other. Seriously, what else can I ask for?
When you want an honest answer: ask a teen. They will give it to go straight. I love that about them.
The only thing that confused me was vines. No, not grape vines. I love to eat those filled with rice. Vines. It was a thing I'm told, and now, there are compilations of them on you tube. They showed me "clean"vines,....and I still didn't get it. So let me explain: they are not a thing anymore. Only a few teens use and enjoy them and speak in vines. Teen :" I got 2 free tacos"...laughter; I'm confused, "yeet" . Me "what?". More laughter. They showed me some and I still didn't get it. So our only male member of the group explained . Patiently. Kindly. They were done for the enjoyment of young people. They are quick. Filled with puns. For kids with short attention spans. A few seconds long, then the next, and the next, and the next.....Its easier for some to use vines in conversation as a point of connection. You don't have to get into a deep conversation. They serve a purpose , I guess.
But what I also learned is that teens want to be taken seriously. Like: Give me something deeper. Don't assume I'm always on snap chat. They do long for deep belonging. It's a basic human need. And more so in the teen years, their need to belong is huge. That's why I am thankful for a good youth group that my kids belong to. A safe place with great people. A place to belong.
What have you learned from your teen lately? I am continuously learning that they are awesome human beings and I am blessed wit 6 of my own. Enjoy the pictures below.
Send me a note if you need help decoding their behavior. Or just plain old help to thrive as a couple while you raise teens.
You are loved. Loved beyond measure.
Until next time,