Parenting teens

Life being a parent is hard.  We give up a lot of what we want or so we think.  And then again we get a lot of what we want the most love.  Anyway, I have hard times with my kids and it helps at those times to read the story of another mother, Anne Lamott, who writes about her son, Sam.  And she, being a real writer, says it in much better ways than I can.  So here are excerpts from an article by her found over at salon.com.  You can link to it here.  And all of you who leave comments on my blog about my struggles with my kids – you help too.  A lot.  Thanks.

This is worth the read if you are sometimes a frustrated or angry parent like me.

From Sam is Thirteen  – asking her priest friend what Jesus would have done with thirteen year olds:

“What would he have done with 13-year-olds?” I asked.

“In Bible times, they used to stone a few 13-year-olds with some regularity, which helped keep the others quiet and at home. The mothers were usually in the first row of stone throwers, and had to be restrained.”

 …

“I thought of my friend Tom, and wanted to ask, “What on earth did Mary do, when Jesus was 13?”

Here’s what I think: She occasionally started gathering rocks.

If we take the incarnation seriously, then even nice old Jesus was 13 once, a human 13-year-old. He learned by doing, like we have to. He had to go through adolescence. So it must have been awful sometimes. Do you know anyone for whom adolescence was consistently OK? But in his case, we don’t know for sure. We see him earlier, in the Bible, at 12, when he’s speaking to the elders in the Temple. He’s great with the elders, like Sam is always fabulous with other grown-ups. They can’t believe he’s such an easygoing kid, with such good manners. In the Temple, Jesus says things so profound that the elders are amazed. They’re wondering, “Who’s this kid’s teacher?” They don’t know that Jesus’ teacher was the Spirit.

But at the same time he’s blowing the elders away, how is he treating his parents? I’ll tell you — he’s making them crazy. He’s ditched them. They can’t find him for three days — some of you know what it’s like to not find your kid for three hours. You die. Mary and Joseph have looked everywhere, in the market, at the video arcade. Finally they find him in the last place they thought to look — the temple. And immediately, he mouths off — oh, sorry, sorry, I was busy doing all this other stuff — my father’s work. Like, Joseph, you’re not my real father. I don’t even have to listen to you.

And what is Mary doing this whole time?

Mary’s got a rock in her hand. “

… 

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  1. “In Bible times, they used to stone a few 13-year-olds with some regularity”.

    There seems no lack of stoned 13 YOs today either 😉

    I dunno, but I think the 13 YO rebellion thing is cultural really, at least to a point. It’s that age where you’re not a kid and not an adult. Jewish society partially dodged this with boys becoming ‘men’ at 12, although as you suggest, I suspect the removal rate was fairly high since this is an age when people will show what’s on the inside quite clearly.