”Christy, I hate to tell you this (and I hate to hear anything that starts this way) but I think I should. The other night Billy saw your son and Tim P. go into a neighbors open garage and take a beer out of their frig.”
My son?, I thought. No way!
I didn’t want to believe my friend’s tall beer tale, but by the unequivocal fact that my son was a teenager and breathing gave credence to the possibility she spoke truth.
What had otherwise been an emotionally picture perfect day, rapidly deteriorated. Angry storm clouds filled my sky. Riled-up, ferocious ones. Disbelief, fear, humiliation and disappointment washed over me in symphonic unison.
Disbelief that my son (our not so perfect angel) would do such a thing. Fear that this might be part of a bigger problem. Disappointment in myself for not being a better mom and of course the humiliation that came along with the exposure from said tattletale.
If you’ve ever had a teenager, you’ve probably felt this kind of lightning strike. If not, I promise there’s a storm a brewing up yonder with your child’s name attached.
As painful as these times were for me as a mom, they provided an awesome classroom environment for teachable moments. These precarious opportunities enabled me to teach my boys about God’s unfailing love, infallible Word…and their mother’s self-discipline!
I tried to take all out advantage of each one of these “precious” moments. It made something good out of a bad situation. But most days it felt like everything I was pouring in was only spilling out.
I had all but forgotten the many tumultuous settings with which the teenage years graced us when the other day I was visiting with a friend who is now in the thick of it with her three.
As she unfolded story after story of problematic scenarios where hard decisions had to be made, the memories all came rushing back to me with tidal wave force.
I just had to ask her, “Aren’t you exhausted from it all?”
Without hesitation she calmly responded.
“No not really because these times provide the best moments to share God. They give me opportunities to share Scripture and impart discipline and grace.”
Like childbirth, teachable moments are painful but only for a short while. Lessons learned from these fleeting bouts of pain cement together the building blocks for character traits that last a lifetime.
Thinking back, uncomfortable as they sometimes were, each teachable moment served to build the foundation for the men my boys grew up to become.
Today my boys stand tall. Not just in height (at 6′ and 6’3”) but in character. However, looking back it didn’t always feel it would turn out that way.
So here! here! to the mom of a teenager. You’ve got a tough job. When your child gets in trouble or when they’re hurt, you take the pain on times ten.
You’re a shoulder for hurt feelings. A bear hug for crushed dreams. A crying partner for broken hearts. Money for fender benders. Excuse for tardy slips. The ATM for good grades. You’re a stern look for Saturday school. And they know you’re all they’ve got when their sassy mouth lands them on restriction.
All opportunities for teachable moments.
I can sum this message up with 3 statements:
1. Be prepared for the angry clouds your teenager might/will drag into your clear blue sky.
2. There is a character building moment is every storm.
3. Always keep your garage door shut at night.
Number 3 alone would have saved me from one really big headache!
“These commands that I give you today are to be on your heart. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at homeland when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV
Looking forward, pressing, and seeking God in every bump in the road.