Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Message to a wayward teenager:

You aren't half as smart as you think you are and your parents aren't half as dumb as you think they are.   The things you do now will affect the rest of your life, yet you don't understand that.  I know it's hard for you to fathom the rest of your life, when you don't even know what you'll be doing on Friday night, but trust me, a day will come when you understand and you will look back at this time in your life and think -- How stupid was I?

Your parents have been advised to praise you for every good decision you make, lest they bruise your fragile ego.  You have no idea idea how hard it is to find something to praise you for, when nearly every decision you make scares the crap out of them, because your decision making skills are so far off track.

Your parents have an ability that you don't have--  They can predict the outcome of your bad decisions with frightening accuracy.  Just like when you were little and they knew running into the street would eventually lead to you being hit by a car, they know that (insert stupid teenage behavior) will eventually lead to equally serious consequences now.  Consequences they are desperately trying to help you avoid.

They aren't here on earth to ruin your life.  Quite the contrary-- they are here to preserve your life.  NO matter how arbitrary you think their rules are, they know what they're doing.  It's not only their job, it's their greatest ambition to see you grow up in one piece, a contributing member of society.

I know it's too much to ask for you to think before you act; your brain isn't capable of that action.  I really can't ask that you listen to your parents, who know best, because I know that your generation, no, make that every generation, believes the generation before is terminally stupid, backward, and hopelessly uncool.

I know you won't believe it, but your parents faced the same temptations you are facing.  Dangerous, life altering-dangerous, things existed, even back in the 'olden days', believe it or not.

Make no mistake-- they will continue to try to save you from your own poor decision making.  Just like they pulled you back to the curb, when you were a small child running into the street, they will attempt to pull you back to safety now, when they see you running into dangerous territory.  It's what good parents do.

They love you enough to allow you to hate them for a time.  Their desire to keep you safe trumps their ego.

You don't have to understand.  You don't have to like it.  It's okay.  Your parents aren't trying to be your friend, or to be popular.  They're just trying to be your parents, and to keep you alive long enough to enjoy your much anticipated adulthood.  That's how they show their love.  You'll understand some day.  Really, you will. 

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