Tag Archives: appreciation

7 Reasons To Cherish The Teenager(s) In Your Home

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We all know that the teenage years can be some of the most trying years.  But this is Thanksgiving week and people everywhere are adopting an attitude of gratitude.  So I’ve decided to give thanks for the teenagers in my home. You can, too. Here are 7 reasons to cherish your teenagers.

1.  Teenagers eat the food you prepare.

They may not share your love of salmon or mushrooms, but they probably won’t whine and sulk about the dinner menu like they did when they were little.  They’re beginning to appreciate the time and care that goes into preparing a meal.  And if you’re lucky enough to be able to dine together several times a week, research says your teens will perform better in school and resist negative peer pressure.  Family dinners are so hard to pull off with hectic schedules, but most teens will agree they are a welcome departure from fast food and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

2.  Teenagers help out around the house (with less whining and eye rolling each time).

By the time your children are teenagers, it’s no longer necessary for “helping out” to be a fun, game-style activity set to music. It should not require a fun follow-up activity either.  Teens will usually help out when asked because they know (at last!) that it’s the right thing to do.  It lightens the load for us parents, physically and mentally.  Alleluiah!

3.  Teenagers are technology savvy.

I “get” Facebook.  I get email.  I get texting and cable TV.   But apparently I don’t get the“blue” stuff.  I once flagged down a Target salesperson in the technology department to inquire which blue tooth system was rated best in quality for movie viewing.  I thought I was being proactive.  Before the young man could respond, my teen interjected, “Blue ray!  Not blue tooth, Mom!”  How could I have confused the two? And why are they both blue? My teens know way more about technology than I do and yours probably do, too.  Embrace this reality and give thanks for your teens.

4.  Teenagers introduce you to new skills and activities.

I’ve rarely had the opportunity to speak the French language I spent 7 years studying, but I do get to quiz my eighth grader on her Spanish and it makes me long to learn this language.  She is quite skilled at reciting simple sentences that sound sophisticated to my untrained ears.     Te amo, mamá.  Usted es el major!   (I love you, mom.  You’re the best!)

I would rather stick needles in my eyes than perform on stage in an auditorium.  So no one was more proud (or sweating more profusely) than I was, watching our oldest daughter play the role of a singing nun in her high school’s production of The Sound of Music.  And I get another rush from watching ice hockey with some of the most rowdy parents in sports.  I thank God when the game is over and no one is hurt.  I love the game but watching my child play it is completely out of my comfort zone.

Watching your teens develop as students, athletes, artists and friends is a role you only have for a short time.  I try to cherish these days and the lessons they bring.  (Remember those temper tantrums and power struggles from the toddler years?  I don’t. I do remember many of the good times, though).

5.  Teenagers enjoy family time.

It’s now OK to pull out [some of] those fantastic movies that contain more substance. Teenagers will not be scarred by mature language and more mature themes.  And there’s another bonus:  Teenagers may look at you appreciatively for your choices in comedy, drama and documentary.

Some people call gatherings with relatives forced family fun.   But I’m certain most teenagers welcome those infrequent opportunities to spend time with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins.  What’s not to like about a full Thanksgiving belly followed by a game of Candyland and/or Scrabble? Or watching football or a classic Disney movie? And how about gathering for a Face Time session with long-distance relatives they love and miss?  Yes, teenagers gravitate toward friends more than family, but they can always count on unconditional love and acceptance of family through the ups and downs of the teenage years. Amen.

sass

6.  Teenagers let you know if you’re about to make a fashion faux pas.  

Or, they let you know at dinner, when it’s a little too late.   But you can still take away the lesson. (Stripes on stripes doesn’t work).

 

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7.  Teenagers still need us and (occasionally) come to us for advice.  

Sometimes we forget that our teens are still developing into adults. They make mistakes.  They make poor choices.  We often wonder what’s in store for their futures.  But they all show signs of becoming independent – which is great news!  It is also a reminder to us to cherish them right now while they’re still immersed in our lives.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

 

                                                          kids      blue hills   

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  

Not Too Little of Anything (and Not Too Much)

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Christmas is behind us now, but I can’t bring myself  to take down the tree or the window candles or the paper snowflakes my daughter and her friend made, copying Buddy the Elf.  I want beautiful white lights to sparkle inside the house year round.  I want the spotlight to shine on our home, making it look cozy and inviting to neighbors and friends.

I suppose there’s no harm in leaving white lights up for a few more weeks, or even through winter, but sadly, the fresh balsam Christmas tree is beginning to lose more and more of its needles each day and will soon look like a large version of Charlie Brown’s tree.  Time to place the ornaments carefully back in the big box until next year.

I remember watching a Sesame Street video when my kids were little, where Elmo wishes Santa would come every day.  He got his wish in a dream and quickly realized how dreadful it feels to always be bombarded with treats.  Too much of anything is never good.  (Think how bad we’d feel if we lived on Christmas cookies, cake, egg nog and wine).  As the Christmas break nears its end, my teens are wishing for more time off from school.  But like everyone else, teens need structure and even they will grow tired of too much down time.  Everything in moderation.

At last, even my youngest child is aware of who Santa Claus is.  She has not verbalized this awareness but has been my sidekick on a few shopping excursions.  I am only slightly sad about this.  She knows the real meaning of Christmas and cherishes every bit of the season.  Asked what she loved the most about Christmas this year, she replied getting together with relatives.

Now that they’re teens, our children’s personalities and preferences are more apparent to us.  Choosing gifts for them is no longer such a guessing game. This year’s choice of a Blue Ray/DVD device for the family was well received this year by everyone.  My husband’s choice of a deluxe DVD set of The Waltons series two years ago:  not so much.  

Even if we do make mistakes in our gift-giving, teenagers are usually mature enough to still show gratitude.  They know we are human.  (Skinny jeans were not what I thought I was buying for my son, although  I did get the waist and length right).  There seems to be a general appreciation for the time and thought (and money) that goes into choosing those special gifts that end up under the tree.  Who doesn’t love to be treated to something that they love but don’t necessarily need? 

– – –

I recently read about a way that well-intentioned parents can avoid that sickly feeling that comes from over-purchasing gifts for their kids.   In this simple plan, each child receives four gifts:

Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear and

Something to read

The key is to start this when the kids are little — when opening four gifts each is perfectly fine, as it should be.  (I do  NOT recommend starting this system following a year of the kids opening 10 gifts each).  This is a great system for teenagers.

In my last post, I explained that I was longing for the peace of mind I believe would come to me if I saw my kids giving back a little more.   The idea was for all three of them to pitch in together to really clean up around the house (laundry, dishes, bedrooms) for an afternoon and to cook a nice meal for everyone.  That has not happened yet, due to work schedules, hockey and holiday gatherings, but I am certain that it will.  Each kid has expressed an interest in the plan.  We shall see….

In the meantime, I came across  a story/poem that has been re-posted for years on various sites and blogs.  It resonates with me because it is truly what I want for my own children as they become more independent and life gets more complicated.  And it is probably what other well-meaning, yet slightly indulgent and/or overprotective parents want for their own children.  Not too little of anything, but not too much of anything either.   Happy New Year!

“I wish you enough!”©
By Bob Perks
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I never really thought that I’d spend as much time in airports as I do. I don’t know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I’m not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports.

I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to “hello” and “goodbye.”I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you.

I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye.

Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day.

On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, “How are you today?” I replied, “I am missing my wife already and I haven’t even said goodbye.”

She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, “How long will you…Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!” We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye.

But I learn from goodbye moments, too.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.”

They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.

So I knew what this man experiencing.

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked.

“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”

He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.”When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he
were reciting it from memory.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

He then began to sob and walked away.

My friends, I wish you enough!
by
Bob Perks