Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ahhhh... (insert eyes filled with hearts here)

When cupid strikes, he strikes fast and with a fury.  However where teenagers are concerned, it is often not the arrow of cupid that has caused them to see the opposite sex in a new unique and appealing way, it is hormones, the teasing of others, and the need to fill in a gap that society says you have, if you have no one to love, or no one to love you. 

How then does a parent in today's day and age manage to fight the world, the hormones and the friends?  I wish I had the answer to that.  Combine the above items with any "normal" functioning teen, and you could probably assume to have some reasonable conversations with them about how you do not need someone else in your life to be complete, or that they should focus on athletics, studies and building relationships at home and with friends, since these are the people that will be forever in their life. Perhaps in just sharing the biggest truth of the matter, the one you think the moon sets around today will not be the one the sun rises around tomorrow, will be enough to jar them back to their senses.  Perhaps not. 

However, throw in a hormonal, socially awkward, trust in nothing, and believe no one adolescent, and the scenario changes drastically.  Sadly, the one that suffers the most is the one on the receiving end of such intentions, good bad or otherwise. 

Currently we have a dwarf that will remain anonymous, who has tried to bribe, purchase, beg, coerce, finagle, brow beat, in an attempt to wear down, a member of the opposite sex in an effort to win their attention and affection.  Which, if I can be permitted a side trail here, how would one adolescent  with no job, no life experience, no ability to go places without adult transportation, ever even consider that a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship would be possible within the confines of school?  What are they envisioning? Sitting across from one another staring lovingly into each others eyes at the lunch table, for 20 minutes a day, sharing a PB&J that their momma packed?  Insert head shake here... Never mind that the house rule is no dating until you are 18, and yes, that is a thing at our house.

Back to the situation that is currently unfolding.  Enter stage right, smart devises that allow us to be stupid.  If you are socially awkward, then you can remain faceless, and declare your undying love to an unsuspecting soul via a text message, or an email, or instant message.  In doing so, you catch the other party off guard, and unaware that this attack is coming, especially if as the recipient you have never given your number to said intruder.  While the messages are heartfelt I am sure on the part of the dwarf, they are inappropriate, and when it is clear to the average person (the mom reviewing the smart device for just such things) that the person on the other side of the blue cloud is trying to get out of the conversation gracefully, to this particular dwarf, it seems even the clear message, "stop texting me", and "I don't want to talk to you anymore", are not clear enough to penetrate this euphoria of love. 

Mentally and emotionally this dwarf is now in significant turmoil, because they have created a problem, on SO many levels.  In steps we, the parentals, and in our wisdom and love for the dwarf, try to steer them through the situation.  What the appropriate thing to do at the onset of these love sick feelings would have been, the correct way to talk (the old fashioned way, face to face) with the person they are interested in, how much of your true feelings to indicate upfront, how to handle relationships in a way that is honoring to the other person, themselves (as now you seem a bit mental) all while honoring the Lord with your words and actions, finishing the conversation with strict instructions to STOP communicating with this person as it is making life hard, when it doesn't have to be!

Oh, but the lure of fixing what we have screwed up, even to a hot mess, is an underlying and an all consuming thought process. It is like having a sore that is starting to scab over.  Given time it will heal, but if you keep picking it, healing will take longer and potentially become more painful if you get an infection. 

Now back to the dwarf. While they may have made points with their friends for taking a dare, and professing their undying love, the consequence is a heavy heart because just the opposite has happened. By not trusting that perhaps the older and wiser advice of the parents was spot on, they now have pushed this person of interest farther away from them, and this person no longer even wants to have a casual conversation with our dwarf because of all the awkwardness and  their persistence in not being able to let things drop.  Where there were conversations, albeit stilted and uncomfortable,(because they are after all teenagers) there is now tension, where there once was an easy ebb and flow to the classroom setting and life outside the classroom, there is now strain, and incredibly painstaking thoughts to process about how far away from said person to be, or what or how to talk or not talk to them.  Over analysis is now taxing an all ready over strained brain, which now is making life with said dwarf, difficult emotionally and physically because they are so wrapped up and exhausted in how to fix something that should have never been broken in the first place. 

Now I am going to go out on a limb here, and it may be that I end up standing alone, however with a little life experience behind me, and a lot of time to grow wise with the passing days, I can say in all honesty, I wish my parents had this stance on dating.  NO!  No you may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend until you are married!   Okay that is a bit much, but you get the idea.  Fighting the society's notion that love is all you need is hard. At 12, 14, 16 , 18 and even in our 20's "love" by societies standards is not what we need. 

What as parents, I feel we need to do is continue to build confidence in our children so that they know that God loves them the most and then we as their parents love them second to that.  In line from there, siblings and extended family and forming those relationships should be the priority during the middle school and high school years.  At the end of the day, when your friendships grow apart, love interest falls apart, or you face any other trial, disappointment or failure, you will want the support of your family and their unconditional love to make that transition easier. 

If you are secure in who you are, you will not need others to determine your worth or your value.  Instead, you will be busy sharing your  abundance of love and confidence with others, by being a good friend, a trustworthy employee, a stellar student, a respectful son or daughter, a compassionate neighbor, even a dedicated athlete.  You will find joy in making an impact in others lives, not looking to others to make an impact in yours.  There is always the distinct possibility that you will not find a forever mate, and instead of shopping for one starting at the age of 13 or 14, build confidence in yourself, work on relationships that you know will be around for life, shift your focus to being the best that you can be.

I believe when you least expect it, that arrow, shot from Cupid's bow, will make it's mark on you, and there will be no "shopping" around.  The man or woman (note, not boy or girl ) will be the one for you for the rest of your days, at just the right time and the right season in your life.  If we spend our time and energy with the wrong focus, we end up with a trail of tears, distress, broken heartedness.  While I know that life is hard, and relationships are hard, and there are no guarantees in life or love,  as parents we need to be more intentional in helping our children focus on the important things for appropriate stages of development and trust that God will handle the rest. 

So alas, as a family we are still struggling through the moodiness, and distractions of young "love" gone wrong...but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I think we have made a corrective dent in the thinking of said dwarf, as they can now clearly see a better way to have handled the situation.  Will that deter them from repeating this heart ache?  I can only hope. 

There are days when I really wish I did make this stuff up. 

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