It’s the first weekend of summer vacation, literally Day 2. And I get this:
“Mom, I’m bored.”
I could do what my parents did and start down a long list of chores that need to be done. Bored? I’ll give you something to do! But I don’t. I do something worse.
I offer suggestions.
And she shoots down every single one of them. Turns on her heels and walks off, sulking.
Lord, help me.
So, I’ve decided what I’m NOT doing for my teens this summer:
- I will not make any suggestions on what they can do, eat, read, watch, or who they could contact. My name is not Julie McCoy; I am not their social coordinator.
- I will not tell them how to solve their problems.
- I will not register them for any sports practices, camps, baby-sitting classes, drivers ed training, volunteering, etc. If they can record their own violin assignment and send it to their teacher via Google classroom, they can register themselves.
- I will not remind them that they need to do their laundry. If they run out of clean clothes, bring on the stink.
- I will not supervise them while they do their chores. If they want their allowance, they can take the initiative and report to me once they’re completed.
But here’s what I WILL do for my teens:
- I will stop what I’m doing, put down the spatula, close the laptop, turn over my phone, and listen to them—anytime they want to talk, no matter what I’m doing. I will look them in the eye, acknowledge their thoughts, validate their feelings, and offer encouragement.
- I will drive them where they need/want to go, within reason, when asked politely, with enough lead time, and if my schedule allows. (This is assuming they’ve completed some element of #2 above.)
- I will seek out opportunities to spend one-on-one time with them, and invite them to join me. If they decline, I will understand and not take it personally.
- I will hug them whenever they ask. Even if they don’t want it.
- I will pray for them, that they will grow in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52) and for whatever struggles they may be facing.
- I will understand that this “taking responsibility for their own happiness” is a new thing for them (and me) and that the first few weeks may be rough on us all. I will be patient. I will not give in.
- I will acknowledge when they do take ownership of their time, interests, and responsibilities. I will lavish them with praise, atta-girls, and love.
- When this happens. I will breathe easier and sleep better.