So my life is full of kids, you all know that if you know me. As I am watching some of these kids recently, and have propped a few up and been here to catch them if they fall, I am reminded of many trials over the years. It is hard to get close to teenagers and kids. A lot of times they hold themselves apart and most of them think adults look down on them. I am an oddity, this I know about myself. I would rather hang out talking the night away with a bunch of teenagers then go to a bar full of adults pretending to be something they aren't. Most people put on airs and try to make themselves be more then they are, trying to catch the spotlight for themselves, this is funny to me. Why try to hide what you are and who you are? You are the best you there is! The ONLY you there is. Teenagers pick up on others trying to act and get attention like you wouldn't believe. They see it in each other all the time, so it is only natural for them to see it come to light in others, including adults. I sat last night and watched the dynamics in a room FULL of teens, and listened to college students comment on the antics. Some of it made me laugh because they were so right and some of it made me just sad. How come it takes so much outside attention for some people to feel secure and worthy in life? Why is it that someone can say, I hate the limelight I don't like being the center of attention, yet do everything in their power with their actions that makes that statement false? College kids seem to be at a point where they have moved out of the little dramas of High School and they see things clearly, including in adults, they will tell you when they feel an adult is searching for the spotlight and is in their words "fake". As I was listening to them, I started to wonder, when do we lose that? We go from High Schoolers who need or crave attention and others approval to feel worthy, to college kids who laugh at it and are content and feel it ridiculous to watch, and then adult hood where some of the population reverts and the whole high school stuff and drama starts all over again. Then I realized something during the discussion, maybe its just those who feel inadequate in life that need to be the center so others will boost them up by telling them how wonderful they are and how they couldn't do it or survive without them. So it got me thinking how do you help these young teens become confident so that they can outgrow it, and be content with who they are and take pride in being the best of themselves?
I am not positive of the answer yet, I wish I was, but a couple ideas came to me over this subject last night. Teenagers typically are really looked down on or talked badly about in society. Mention having a "teenager" and you get a lot of eye rolling and sighs of commiseration. I have on occasion felt that way too, I am guilty of this. Teenagers are hormonal and many times out of control, forgetting to use the brain God gave them because life is all about the number one, uno THEM. Isn't that kind of justified though? We have waited on them supplying their every need since they were born. If we haven't taught them that will stop and to lean on themselves and start making decisions and doing things for themselves how are they supposed to flip that switch and life isn't about them? I am as guilty as anyone in this area, Paul tells me daily I do too much for the boys. I do their laundry, I fold it, and I put it away for them fifty percent of the time. I cook for them keep their schedule's straight and even most of the time the girl friends schedule's straight so that when asked of conflicts while planning activities or dates I know of them before they do. My boys all know how to do laundry and cook, but they will all agree and tell you if Mom does it its easier and why wouldn't they take advantage of that. So isn't that a bit of my own fault? I think so! I do not believe ANYONE wouldn't take advantage of that though if given a chance, adult or child or teen. So maybe the difference is appreciation, there is a definite lack of vocally voicing appreciation in teens but isn't that also prevalent in a lot of adults too? So we expect teens to do as we say not as we do...
That all is interesting don't you think? I do but then I identify and do not think of them as kids, I think of them as younger friends that at times need guidance or for someone to be straight with them. Holding them accountable, teaching with my own actions that majority of the time gets overlooked and saying what most parents never would. Calling names isn't something I do, or labeling isn't right with me. Everyone can be anything they want to be, We are a world of diverse for a reason. Learning to tolerate and embrace those diversities is not easy. People can drive each other nuts! Most of us just never take the time to see and look for the person inside either. Ninety percent of the time what you are seeing is only the outer shell used to cover the inside and protect it from being hurt. This is true in teens and adults. I am called Momma Lee by many in a few different States and many different Cities. I think this is funny but I do not mind; this is not something I never called myself or suggested anyone call me in the beginning. I am perfectly okay being called Colleen or Mrs. Colleen, don't really care for Mrs. Lee just because I don't feel its my right my Mother-in-law is Mrs Lee. A few years ago I went on a overnight field trip as a chaperon and these kids dubbed me Momma Lee, after that it kind of stuck. I am not these kids Mom and have no ambitions to take anyones mothers place just so you all know, and I'm perfectly okay with anyone who doesn't feel comfortable calling me Momma Lee but I'm okay if they want to too, it really just doesn't matter to me. When they first started calling me Momma Lee, I used to laugh because personally it draws images of a big black woman of the South in the 1900 to me. I am getting off topic lol. Anyway, many of those that call me Momma Lee, some of our conversations I would never have dreamed to have with my Mom, but then my discussions with my own sons, whom are my best friends, I would never have had with my parents and still don't. I feel this in the depth of my soul ~ friendships can span any generation, age is not a qualifier for friendship or a deciding factor. 20 years is nothing when your in your thirties and fifties. I have friends, one of my dearest who is in her sixties, only a few years younger then my Mom, but I love her and hope I have been as much a guide and confidant to her as she has to me. We have been through much and have known each other for close to 12 years now. I also have friends my age, having attended High school with the closet one to me, raising kids together and figuring out how to get old and deal with the many wonderful ' joys' of getting older. Finally I have a wonderful very close friend who is 17, I am amazed daily how much I am learning from them and how I love spending time with them even through our age difference, the great thing is, which kind of shocks me, they aren't afraid to call me their friend and remind me I am a 'friend' and they are thankful for our friendship as I am.
So here is my statement for today, LIFE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS and they are HARD, no matter how in love you feel or how much you care- they take work, they take time, and they take communication. You are practicing these skills because you will need them for the rest of your lives because MARRIAGE is even harder!! You are testing the waters, finding out what you like in some and what you don't like so that you will know later on in life, when it comes to committing to someone else for the rest of your life. Flirting and physical contact with each other. Hugs and crazy laughter with silly behavior, Guys showing how much of a man or stud they can be and Girls smiling and giggling showing how cute and sweet they can be. Everyone putting on their best show as to attract one another.
What happens when it all comes down to reality though? No one is funny or sweet or looks handsome/cute all the time. Besides looks fade, personal life changes peoples humor, and we ALL have moody bad days! So really what and how do we have real relationships, discover whats important and strive for connections that will last?
In 21 years I have found a couple very key points to relationships, and this does not only apply in my case to guys/girls this applies to friendships too. These points are this....
FORGIVENESS- this is the most important thing to any relationship, because we are all human and we are all idiots at any given point in time, along with the majority of us can be VERY bull headed if we feel we are right, and there is hurt mixed in. If we can not forgive, we only end up hurting ourselves with bitterness, and if we can't forgive who is going to forgive us?
Along with forgiveness would be also a sense of humor, learn to laugh at yourself. Taking life and yourself too personally only leads to hurt feelings, which leads to bitterness. To go with that though we must also be accountable to not talk trash or say hurtful things about one another. Be-careful to only say the truth and be aware of your motives behind what you say. Are you saying it out of jealously or envy or to get back at someone because they said something about you? If it is all in fun and sarcastic wit make sure the person you are talking about can take the joke with you, do they know your teasing because if they don't hurt feelings could happen, and most of the time you have no idea what you did and they won't tell you so a road block develops in your relationship.
COMMUNICATION- if we never tell anyone how we are feeling how are they supposed to know? I don't know about you but I do not live in a household of mind readers, I live in a household of ALL GUYS, and listen gals guys can at times just be dense. I am not dissing guys because girls can be just as dense when it comes to figuring out whats important to a guy and believe me whats important is NOT the same things. Girls need to know a guy is there for them, need to know he will listen. Girls need to VENT. Guys need to know they can take away the hurt, they need to feel needed, and they need to feel like the knight on the white horse. Guys want to treat you like a princess, and you want to be treated like one- but sometimes they just don't know how. They see your beauty and sometimes you blow their minds~ sometimes they blow our minds doing something so thoughtful it leaves us speechless, but they always want to know if what they did was right or wrong. Because neither of us know at times, if we did something right or if we messed it up, there are feelings of insecurity on BOTH sides. Guys need to know that their arms around you can make EVERYTHING better, even if it solves nothing. They want above all else, time. Time with you is the greatest gift you can give them, even if you are doing nothing. Girls want time but we get so caught up in the have to do this, I'm involved in this, and I have to talk to so and so, and help out so and so cause shes having it rough right now....we forget, they need just a few minutes of our UNDIVIDED attention everyday to feel connected. I live with a house full of guys like this, so I am only going on what I personally know, I do not claim to be an expert on the male brain because I am still learning everyday! Day to day stuff weighs us all down, school, homework, extra curricular's, families, jobs, diapers, bills, cars, house, laundry, meals, and the list can and will go on and on for the rest of all of our lives. Not all of you are believers but for those of you who are you know God and daily communication and time with him is vitally important for the growth of your relationship and walk with him, why then would our human relationships be any different? God has said we are made in his image, right? If he requires this for growth with us, then why would it be any less important to have growth with others?
I realize this is not a possibility with everyone in our lives, we move we change we grow and sometimes those closest to us become friendship's of old friends, and that is okay, it doesn't make them less of anything it just means we've moved slightly away from one another because something has changed, become more important, it does not mean we care less either just that in our growth we've discovered a new path that may not merge with the old, and sometimes we can forgive and we can communicate but it doesn't mean we will ever forget and it is healthier to distance ourselves from relationships that turn unhealthy. The using of a friendship and the non reciprocating of the relationship: sometimes to communicate and forgive but move on is the best most healthy thing for us to do, being aware that in the future something may shift or change and if it is good the relationship could be mended. This applies mostly to friendships but another example maybe a cheating spouse or boyfriend.
There are other things I have learned but those are the two things that are vital for a relationship to have a chance to grow, if one of them isn't present, both of you will hurt. Even now reminding myself of these things is sometimes and hourly thing.... Married people argue :) and it is really hard to be together and not forget to ENGAGE in a personal daily conversation, life gets in the way. It's hard to not talk about kids and bills and who didn't take out the garbage, it's hard to talk about how we are feeling at any given point in time, but its important. Sometimes its very hard to not let hurt and disappointment drive a wedge between you that you let fester and take on a life of its own, but if you want to have a chance at making things work we have to remove the wedge, decide to look beyond the hurt- and in this is the only way to grow and figure out who we want in our lives. Is it healthy? Do I feel good about our relationship? Does it work most of them time? Can we talk things through? Do I know we don't hurt each other on purpose? Important questions to ask yourself in a new and growing relationship.
Finally, you need to love yourself to love someone else, because biblical or not (and you all know my belief but I respect they are not everyone's) to treat others as you would like to be treated is how to guide yourself. Gossiping and back stabbing ,spreading rumors or intentionally hurting or using someone else to get back at someone for hurting you, is not what most of us would like done to us... I know personally, I would want someone to stand up for me when I am down and can't do it myself. To stand beside me through all the ups and downs of life (because there are downs in EVERYONE'S life) To love me know matter my faults, but to be kind when pointing them out, but also firm, doing so with love not self importance and to help me try and change them to be a better person, or to clarify my understanding. To remind me daily, I am important and worth the time, important enough to spare a couple of minutes to remind me, no matter how hectic the day gets. To get to know me, to know and want to know my thoughts, no matter how scary or weird or off the wall they may be.
This is what I would like in life, so this is the way I try and treat others ( and I do NOT always succeed). LOL and many people that is not what they want, someone asking them hard questions and saying what do feel about that? So some of you I have spooked :) lol and some of you have been amazed when you figure out I am actually interested, I do want to know, I am not just saying that. But good or bad it's how I live my life and what I think and how I care.
So there are all my crazy thoughts and maybe if you read this, and you take anything away from it that has blessed you or touched you let me know, or if you think I am a totally nutty cat lady you can let me know that too :)
LOVE YOU ALL <3
** I have very Biblical thoughts on relationships too but here and what I am trying to say was not the time to share them for a few reasons, that will remain with me**