Thursday, July 27, 2017

Delighting in Humor with teens...

 Just the other day, I was stopped by a sweet mom of littles.  She asked me what the secret to liking teenagers was, because like most of us, she had heard all kind of stories

Okay so a couple of things here. 

Firstly, wait, what? 

How did I get to be this sweet young thing's poster board mom for liking teenagers?  I think my answer was mostly confusion-driven, because I am the farthest thing there has ever been, to an expert on anything kid-wise... However, I am also the first to say, "Hey FRIENDS, gather...  this actually worked for me and if it can help you, take it and run with it."  (I'm hoping that she approached me because of the latter and not a misconception from the former.)

And also, the jury isn't out yet about how it will all turn out for my own, so mentorship moments are about the most terrifying things in the world.

And also, even though the jury isn't out about my own kids, doesn't mean I should fear any kind of mentorship moments because duh, it could go sideways for anyone at any given time.

(You can see, I'm a bit double-minded about this whole thing.)

But actually that's kind of how I answered her.
But let me back up. The thing she got right about me, was that I love, adore, and can't almost hardly get enough of teenager-type-people.

I always loved the middle school years before I became a mom.  Adrain and I did a short stint as middle school youth group leaders before we became parents.  It was a roller coaster kick in the pants and we loved every moment of it. (Babies and toddlers weren't really ever my thing but give me hormones every time. I know, right?) The sitting on a church doorstep with an angry and emotional girl, listening to her pour our her little heart over friends, boys, parents... you name it, I was all in.  Flash forward to my own kids becoming teens and realizing that if you feed them, they will ALL come.  Even if all you're feeding them is popcorn. Nothing in life thrills me more than a house full of their obnoxious sounds, smells, messes and jokes.  (And also, nothing drives me bonkers more than a house full of teenage sounds, smells, messes and jokes.  The struggle is real.)

We have a house where adoption is a real, non-real thing.  In that we "adopt" them all, and a few of them literally stay for days on end, eat all our food, sleep everywhere, do their laundry here and all but get their mail here.  For those without intact families, we adore this and it's a pay-it-forward thing for us, because my husband came from high dysfunction in early life, and several families adopted him in for years as a teen.  That said, there is really only one thing that has helped me love this season. And I use the word love very seriously.  From the depth of my toes, I love this season. 

That one thing... is humor.  Honestly, teenagers are perhaps the funniest creatures on the planet.  Sometimes they tell me stories of their days and I find myself clutching my stomach, rolling on the kitchen floor. (This is an actual story.) The way they respond is so flippity.  To each other, to situations. It is screaming hysterical. Especially when they include impersonations and movie lines to perfection.  Hanging with teenagers is equal parts; remembering how it was for you, guiding them,  boosting them full of genuine confidence, and delighting in them.  Absolute delight can't be faked, and trust me, a teenager can sniff out fake like nobody's business. I tend to believe that delighting in anything or anyone can be learned. It's mostly about me, not them.  For example, I learn it best, when I set my phone down and listen- thus giving them the gift of my time.  I learn delight when I make a choice over something they say- I can generally go two ways-  1) Get flat out annoyed or 2) Allow it to sink in, hit my funny bone and burst out as I laugh.  (I've noticed that whenever you laugh, when you could also have gotten royally annoyed, it dissolves whatever underlying tension teens almost always have, that can flip into anger and disrespect at any given moment.) 

Choosing laughter as I learn to delight in these stormy little relationships, is my go-to.  Sometimes I do get annoyed. Sometimes I have to call them on something and we have to go down that road. But mostly... I laugh.  (With them (key) or because of them (also key) but never at them.)  Because what they say is witty, intelligent, worthy of my notice and enjoyment.  It's amazing what that little choice does.  The mood and tone it creates is my favorite.  Our home regularly rocks with laughter when it's filled with teenagers. 

And that's my only secret. It doesn't fix everything but it eliminates and prevents a lot!  I'd love to hear how you have found ways to delight in the teenagers in your life! 

And speaking of teenagers... my firstborn is now licensed to drive.  I'm crazy proud.  I'm crazy panicky.  I'm both.  All.the.time.  Ha!  I had to include this photo since many of you remember this little tyke and all that he's conquered in his amazing life so far.  What a great young man he is becoming.  You young mama's in the thick of it with a journey that seems daunting... take heart.  God wastes nothing in our stories and the stories he gives us through our kids. Those challenges are all part of His plan even on the days it seems impossible and you feel all wrong for it.   

We are about to leave for the mountains for a glorious family vacation, hence the funny little sign I made for my kids, pictured above in this post.  I'm busy getting the house all ready for our missionary friends who will be staying here while we're away, as well as packing as light as possible.  I'm excited but also I don't like bears and there will definitely be bears.  Y'all can pray for us if you want!  I can't wait to come back and share the beauty of Banff, Alberta with you! 



  1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and God bless your trip!♥

  2. You are truly blessed! Have a safe & wonderful trip!

  3. Sending you all prayers for a great trip and no bears! :) Thanks for another great post!

  4. I loved babies and toddlers and could hardly even let myself think past those stages. Being a mom of teenagers TERRIFIED me...until it happened. And then it was every bit as wonderful and annoying and hilarious and entertaining as you say, Sasha! I SO wish I hadn't wasted so much time being terrified. (And then, before I knew what hit me it was over and they were all grown up and married and giving us wonderful baby and toddler grandkids. The glorious circle of life.)

  5. Joe?! Oh my word, handsome! Have a great trip connecting with the family!

  6. I feel as if I have watched our kids grow up together - but not together(:My daughter will be a junior this year and I am so excited for her. Yet insanely sad at the same time. I have no clue what I will do when she leaves for college. We joined a gym together this summer and have had a blast taking boxing lessons. I feel like you can find so many fun things to do with your teenagers. Happy vacation to you!

  7. Yes, humor is really the key. Having a good laugh with people helps to build a strong relationship between them. Being a part of the team taught me that very clearly. Thanks a lot for posting.