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Parenting Teens at 17

Being a teen is a complicated place to be right now.  Being a parent of a teen is a delicate place to be.  It often seems that the world is getting harder and more complex for each generation.  As a parent of teens, I often wonder how I would feel about the world at this moment.

If I Were 17


I’d be angry too, if I were 17.  I’d be angry about the world I am being given.

I’d be frustrated with the stubbornness of change.

I’d be disappointed that it has gotten to his point.

I’d be let down that my college loans will haunt me for years.

I’d be disenchanted about the dreams I had as a young child.

I’d be discouraged about my future and my dreams.

I’d be apathetic about changing the world.

I’d be hopeless about peace in the world.

I’d be cynical about what our leaders tell us.

I’d be afraid of failure.

I’d be lost in my self-confidence in deciding on a career.

I’d be unsure of everything.

I‘d feel disempowered that anything I do can matter.

The late 19th century gave 17 year olds guns to kill their fellow countrymen, brothers and other kin in the Civil War.

The early 20th century gave young men guns to and bombs to kill more in WW 1.

The 1930’s gave young people soup kitchens and lost street corners.

The 1940’s brought fascism and Nazism and World War 2 and unfathomable genocide and destruction.

The 50’s brought us complacency and the illusion of safety.

The 60’s brought us the violent death of our cherished leaders and war that seemed it would never end.

The 70’s brought us a way of looking inside which turned to a strange kind of narcissism.

The 80’s and 90’s and the new millennium brought us an infatuation with technology, cyberspace and multitasking.

Theses times are different, trying and sometimes scary. Each generation finds this to be so.

So what is different?  The distractions are different and possibly more plentiful, but the impact is the same.  We can feel spiritually and inspirationally paralyzed.  The possibilities are infinite, begging to be embraced, and to be brought to life.

So what can a preteen, teen or young adult do to lift the veil of negativity and reveal and rediscover the light of positivity and possibility?

The options are elusive, and begging to be noticed.

The anger can become passion and zeal tempered by compassion and righteousness, the undying efforts to persist against all odds for the attainment of what is right.

The frustration can be come the seed for inquiry and pursuit of a direction

The disappointment can become the optimism that is characteristic of youth.

The letdown can be the realization that we have hit a bottom and there is nowhere to go but up.

The disenchantment of broken dreams can be a sign that our dreams may be too lofty, and to dream smaller, and more practically.

The empty space left by our apathy can be replaced by empathy, care and rededication.

Our cynicism can be replaced by the idealism it was meant to be.

The fear of failure can become rebirthed by a cosmic redefinition of success.

My hope for a future and a meaningful career can be actualized by coming in focus with what it is I was put on this planet to do and bring.

My lack of sureness would be replaced by “knowing what you believe”, believing in what “you know” and following it willingly and diligently.

My disempowerment would be replaced by noticing and working on the small, accessible things that are right in front of me.; A smile, helping a classmate, a kind word to a lonesome person, a happy nod to a senior citizen, all count.

No matter what age you are, your visions, dreams and aspirations for a better, healthier, safer, cleaner world are within your reach and striving for them moves us all closer to the possibility that calls us.


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