To the People Who Were Jerks to My Teen: He Was Too Polite to Respond. But I’m Not.

You know what might be the saddest part of my day yesterday? When my 15 year old son came back from trick or treating in our neighborhood and said people were mean to him. Adults were mean to him. They didn’t understand why he would be trick or treating. They didn’t believe him when he said he was 15. They said, “Why are you even out here. Your costume is terrible.” They told him this isn’t for him.

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He was too polite to answer. So, I will.

Dear Generation Who Doesn’t At All Get Teenagers,

You are the problem. You are living in a world you can’t even understand. And it isn’t because this new generation is confusing. It’s because you speak out of both sides of your mouth. You say things like, “These kids are amounting to nothing. They don’t work. They don’t contribute. They are a bunch of thugs and lazy at that.”

You complain that the children and college students currently in existence are amounting to nothing and up to no good. You gripe and moan about how scared you are for the day they take over and run this country. And yet. You take a night that is supposed to be fun and family and creative, and you shut them down. img_3951

I am not sorry. I am not sorry that I have raised 5 kids who choose playing dress up well into their teen years. I am not sorry that I have raised teens who would rather spend the evening with their ten and eleven year old siblings and their three year old neighbor. I am not sorry that they say, “Thank you,” before ever being prompted. They won’t even walk in your grass, because I’ve raised them to be respectful of other people’s property.

I am not sorry they choose a huge squad of teenagers to spend this night with (some college aged, some high schoolers) doing things like throwing back hot apple cider and taking endless photos of each other. I am certainly not sorry that this same bunch of kids would rather settle around my campfire eating homemade chili with their friends than get wasted at a frat party, which I am sure many of them were invited to.

I am not sorry for any of that. I am sorry for you. That you are too narrow minded to see that you are breaking kids down with your ridiculous decisions about something so insignificant as trick or treating. You’ve created an impossible bar because you want our kids to make better choices and value what matters, and when they do, you corner them on your porch and threaten them to get off your property. Really?

img_3934You aren’t the kind of people who are making the world a better place by withholding your dime store candies. My son is making this world a better place. Would it have changed your view of him if you knew he just finished a week long mission trip in our city-doing outreach to the homeless, cleaning up local schools, and walking your very streets cleaning up garbage without an ask or thank you?

Maybe this group would have passed your unspoken test if you knew each of these kids seriously value their education. They work multiple jobs-some without pay- while going to school full-time. Would that help you? Maybe but I doubt it. And none of it really matters, I suppose. Because you will not likely change. But that’s ok. I am not raising you. But you are welcome that I am the one raising these kids.

We won’t forget you. You have created a learning opportunity so my kids can see how to handle unreasonable adults. How to be kind in the face of a jerk. How to choose manners over impressing their friends, no matter how rude of a person they meet.

Thanks for everything,

Shontell Brewer


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Shontell Brewer
Shontell Brewer is a wife and mother to her five children, ages 20 to 12. She holds a master’s in divinity with an emphasis in urban ministry. Her most recent project is an arts-integrated prevention curriculum for minors trafficked across the nation. She speaks as a prevention specialist to communities affected by sex trafficking. Find her at ShontellBrewer.com, and on Instagram and Facebook at Shontell Brewer. Her book, Missionary Mom is due fall of 2018.