Saturday, April 17, 2010

This week my third child, Elisa turns 14. She said that turning 14 seemed so much better than being 13. That now she is really, really a teen. Being 13 people often say "Oh, just starting your teens, aye?" when you tell them how old you are. But if you are 14 you can claim you've been a teenager for a while. So it's different. Huh. OK. I guess I can see the logic of that.

Shayleen and Forrest were so much different at that age. Elisa seems to want to be able to live out this whole phase of life. She wants to wear nail polish and name brand jeans. She likes to listen to more current music and watch Julian Smith videos and just feel like she has truly experienced this whole teen thing. I guess some people would kind of think that was a bad thing, but I'm not sure I really do. She isn't doing anything sinful. I think she just wants to feel like she got out of this phase of life what there is to get out of it. I know the music she listens to, the videos she likes to watch, the jeans she wants to wear. I don't object to them. I'm a lot different of a mom to older kids than I thought I would be. We defintely have our boundries, according to the general standards of the world at large, I guess we would be considered pretty strict. But I don't want to be strict simply for strict's sake. When I tell my kids no about something, I want to have reasons for it. Especially with the older kids. They may not agree with me but I think they generally feel like I've at least thought about it and am giving an answer I believe to be the right thing and not just a knee jerk "no" or trying to be conservative for conservatives sake, etc.
I want my kids to start making choices when they are at home and allow them to use their own reasoning skills while they are still under my roof and I can ask them questions about how they made this choice or that. Sometimes I think we parents get so used to sheltering and controling that we forget to allow them to exercise those skills. But then what happens when they are turned out on their own (and they will be!). Will they have their own tools for making desicions they haven't faced when they are in our home?

Sometimes it can be lonely trying to make desicions based on reasons. Sometimes I think it's much easier to make disicions based on where we feel we belong in society as a group. There is security in being easily labeled. If you are a conservative homeschooler type it's very easy just to make desicions based on whatever you perceive your group as approving.  Sometimes people are uncomfortable with people they can't easily "peg" as to what group they belong to. Sometimes you may think you belong in one "group" based on certain things but then when you are around them more you realize you don't really fit with them as much as you thought. Human nature is interesting. I think it would be interesting to be a sociologist.

Another thing is that as parents I think we get comfortable with whatever the styles or habits were of a certain time period and get kind of stuck there.  The things the kids are doing just look odd to us. Or certain colors or style represent different things to us. Shayleen and I were discussing the mix of red and black in clothing. I told her that when I was a kid girls just didn't wear red and black together. It was considered racey. At least in my smallish to medium sized suburban town that's what we thought. And red in general was used sparingly. She said today red is sophisticated and red and black together are "rich".  Hmm.. Interesting. Another time I was talkign to some moms about a certain clothing style that the teens are wearing. They said it just looked plain weird to them. I had to think "Oh well, they aren't wearing it for us anyway. They are dressing more for each other than their old moms!"

Being a parent is interesting. And I'm finding the teen years to be the most interesting yet.

Happy Birthday Elisa.


  1. Good to see you! I so appreciate this post. We will soon be moving into the teen years too and I want and expect them to be good years. So many people dread them! But so far I love the people my kids are becoming. (Not every minute. But no one loves me every minute either.)

    Music has been on my mind a lot lately. My kids listen to the music their Dad and I like. They really have almost zero exposure to current music. I grew up listening to the radio, flipping stations in the car. Now, there's so much vulgar chit chat on the radio I can't stand to let them listen. So I have to find ways to expose them to current music. How funny that sounds.

    Your daughter is lovely.

  2. Yeah, the radio is pretty crummy most of the time. The kids get recommendations from their friends and I do liksten to KINK once in a while, though la, la, la-the commercials!

    I am probably more lenient than a lot of parents, I still like a lot of rock music and I don't mind it loud...usually. I like alternative stuff like U2, the Clash, Talking Heads, (for older stuff) and in keeping with that sound there is also Audio Adrenaline, David Crowder Band, and my son's favorite band Skillet. These are all Christian bands.

    Hmm... Maybe I'll do a music post...

  3. Happy Birthday to your dear daughter Elisa (who is the same age as my youngest child!).

    Kerri, I agree with what you have said! I wish many, many Christian, home schooling (and otherwise) parents could read this and just consider what you have said. If something is not sinful, in and of itself, we need to beware of setting up our preferences (or even our scruples) as the "Christian" standard.

    If you give me your permission, I would like to share this post on Facebook. :)

  4. Happy Birthday to beautiful Elisa!
    I appreciate your perspective so much, Kerri. You've given me more food for thought. I like your take on things and the way you're letting her experience being a teenager. Definitely, you should write a music post. And a clothing post too, maybe? :)

  5. Well now..... no just kidding! :0 However, I am against rock music as you know. Its not that I just dont like it I really feel it is wrong for me and my family.

    But you see, there's the beauty of it. Whats wrong for one is not wrong for another! I just have trouble putting rock music and christianity together. "Whatsoever things are lovely, whatesoever things are pure... think on these things. Or this verse, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Its just tough for me to fit rock music in there.

    But then what more could you expect from an ex Mennonite, hu? :)

  6. Well now, I know you do your best. :)