We recently celebrated our son’s 16th birthday. Trust me, Jeff and I spent more than a few moments wondering where the time had gone. How was it that we now have a daughter in college and a son who is allowed to get a drivers license?!
The celebration was simple, involving a dozen of his friends—some new, some he’s known his whole life. We laughed, we bowled, we ate pizza and cake. He planned it all himself . . . and it was glorious. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But to be honest—I originally didn’t think it could be this way.
I still remember the conference volunteer who picked me up at the airport when my kids were small. When she said she had four teenagers, I responded, as many people would, “Oh my! Bless you! How are you surviving?” I had the impression that the “adolescent years” were something to brace for. I dreaded the idea of my sweet little ones morphing into distant and disrespectful teens.
The volunteer smiled. “I have to tell you: I think that stereotype is so wrong. And dangerous.”
And I can honestly say that what she said next was the single most important piece of parenting advice I’ve ever received—especially for the teen years, but really, for any age.