I Like Teenagers

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Babies are cute and cuddly. They inspire us to make goo-goo sounds and say things like, “Precious, just precious!” But we all know those little bundles of joy do nothing but lie around all day. We act like babies are so smart that they invented duct tape or something. But they didn’t. A person who can’t go pee pee in the potty could never invent duct tape. But, despite that, most of us think babies are pretty remarkable.

Do you remember having a 4-year-old son or daughter? Everywhere you went people said things like, “Well, look at this little cutie pie! Aren’t you just oh so smart and adorable. I could just eat you with a spoon!” Evidently there’s something about cute 4-year-olds that makes us want to eat them with spoons. I think it’s best we not over-analyze that.

When we lived in Texas, we invited a new couple to our home for dinner. When one of our boys sneezed at the table, he said, “Mom, when I sneezed, rice came flying out my nose and into the green beans!” Yeah. Everybody thought it was adorable…because he was four. Every 4-year-old is a comedian with a lisp. Maybe that’s why people want to consume 4-year-olds with blunt eating utensils.

But then come the teen years. No one ever stops your pimply-faced 13-year-old in the grocery store aisle to say, “Goo-goo. Goo-goo. Aren’t you just precious?” And no one wants to eat your 15-year-old with a spoon either. Nope. It seems by the time your kids are teenagers, most people have completely lost their appetites.
Oh, and if your child is old enough to have facial hair, the whole “I sneezed rice into the green beans” bit will go over like a lead balloon. Let’s face it. Teenagers are a lot of things. But they’re not cute and cuddly. They’re not comedians with lisps. They’re…well, teenagers.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather be dragged through an ant bed covered in extra thick Aunt Jemima syrup than to be a teenager again. Just the thought puts chills up my spine (and not the good kind).

Both of our boys are teenagers. And I’ve made a remarkable discovery. I like them. They can get a little mouthy or moody. They’re not cuddly. They definitely don’t smell like baby powder. They smell like, well, like a combination of tortilla chips, stale locker room, and Axe deodorant. They make mistakes. They’re not over-achievers. But I like them. A lot.

A mom recently asked me the secret to getting along so well with teenage children. I guess my boys weren’t being too mouthy that day so I felt the freedom to answer. Say “yes” every time you can. Try to keep your voice down. Apologize when you don’t keep your voice down. Keep things in perspective. A bad grade is not the same thing as a DUI. So don’t treat it as such. Take a deep breath and count your blessings. At the end of the day, remind them that the world may try to hurt them or bring them down or discourage them, but not you. You’re on their team. You believe in them.

I no longer have a baby to cuddle. But that’s OK. I’m awesomely blessed. I have teenagers.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dwolters
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 10:19:57

    Amen! And I enjoy teenagers too. A couple weeks each year I have the privilege to chaperone teen 4-H events in our state, and they are some of the best weeks of the year. Of course, I am exhausted when I return home, BUT, my faith in the next generation is restored! They are generally polite, respectful and willing to help out! We can’t say that for babies…


  2. Cindy Riley
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 18:23:56

    Love this! I saved your column about teenagers that ran in the UC Daily Messenger a few years ago. I had it laminated and it hangs on the board in my office. I also made a copy to put in each of my boys ( both now graduated) school memories book.


  3. kathy
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 09:54:50

    Lisa, you’ve captured the teen-years perfectly…wait till they’re 20-somethings, you’ll be astounded how great they’ve become!


  4. Njenva
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 06:09:10

    I snorted when I read “It seems by the time your kids are teenagers, most people have completely lost their appetites” Very funny. I was a handful when I was a teenager so I really admire calm and well behaved teenagers. God bless your teenagers!


  5. Daryl Byford
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 23:53:30

    I never want to be a teen again. I’m glad my children are adults, and act like they are. Great article.


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