A Letter to Teens

Earlier this week, while sitting in Panera, I encountered two moms meeting for lunch. I found myself in a position where I was actively trying not to be in their conversation, but we were sitting so closely that I couldn’t help but hear every word. These two women were hurting for their children. They both had sons and daughters who weren’t “bad” kids, but who were just trying their hardest to keep mom out of the picture. Their dialogue is what prompted this post- A Letter to Teens.

Dear Teens,

First, let me start by saying that I realize you are bombarded with SO much. You have school, sports, clubs, social obligations and the pressure to dress well, be cool, and pretty much be the best at every thing you do. I get it. High school is hard, and honestly- it kind’ve sucks. So please don’t think I think you have it easy, because I don’t.

However, let me just say that…. in the grand scheme of life, you do have it easy. For the most part, you have no bills, no money worries, no family to support, and no full-time job. You (and college students) have the most time and the most money- even though I know you don’t agree with me. Just wait, one day you’ll see.

Another thing you’ll see one day is that your parents rock. Right now they seem so clingy and sometimes unnecessarily mean, but they really are the only people who could unconditionally love you through this rough stage called adolescence. My mom used to say that the day a child turned 13 aliens took over his/her body and didn’t return them until they were 19. The longer I’m alive, the more I’m convinced this could be true.

You see, your parents- no matter how annoying and obsessive they may seem- LOVE you more than you’ll ever begin to know. They meet with other people and instead of talking about every other thing in the world, they talk about YOU.  Why? Because they LITERALLY love you so much, that they can’t help but worry about you and brag about you and want to share every small detail of your life. I know you just want them to leave you alone, but can’t you see that this is the biggest form of flattery? It’s like when you have a crush on someone, and all you can do is think of that person and bring them up in conversation- except multiply it by 1,000. You change your feelings on a significant other quite frequently, and your parents carry on this obsession your ENTIRE LIFE. It’s quite the commitment.

{Also, now that we’re talking about relationships, can I also beg of you to take dating less seriously? It’s so rare to marry anyone you date in high school, and even if you do marry them- you’re at least another 4-5 years away. Let’s cool it with the pictures that look like engagement photos and the seriousness of your weekend dates. Take it from a girl who did the high school dating thing poorly, you’ll only regret these decisions later.}

Anyway, do you realize that they thought of you and prayed for you before you were even born? Sometimes, before you were even thought about being born. These people have more interest in you than you even have in yourself. When you hurt, they hurt worse. Once again, I know that sounds dramatic, but trust me it’s not. I’ve sat in small groups (and in Panera) and heard the laments of mama after mama who just wants to reach out and save her daughter from the mean girls. Or have a meaningful conversation with her son. As lame as it may sound, they CRAVE for a deep, meaningful relationship with YOU.

{Disclaimer: Don’t get too prideful. Your parents do have lives. It’s not like they’re poor, whipped puppy dogs hanging on your every word. They have friends, jobs and their marriage to strengthen, but you get to play a huge role in their life.}

And want to know something even weirder? One day they will be your best friend. When the aliens leave and you find yourself homesick away at college, it’ll hit you that you just want to talk to your mom (or dad). So please, starting today, quit being so mean to your parents. Stop sitting quietly in the car and refusing to answer the “How was your day?” question. Quit walking 10 feet ahead of your parents at the mall because you’re too embarrassed to be seen walking with them. And for goodness sake, quit biting your mom’s head off when she just wants to know where you are. It’s so much easier to just tell her- even if you aren’t where you’re supposed to be.

Teens, please just take the time to think about all that your parents do. Think about how fortunate you are to have them. From the outside looking in, you’re absolutely crazy if you don’t see how awesome your parents are. I’m learning from them, so I know you can too.

With my two biggest fans my junior year of college. Sadly this was quite a while ago!

With my two biggest fans my junior year of college. Sadly, this was quite a while ago.


2 thoughts on “A Letter to Teens

  1. Wow Paige! You are exactly right! Our parents are our rock! I hope that I can be half the parent to my girls that my parents were to me! They have always supported me and I know I was NOT the perfect child! Parenthood is incredible and incredibly hard all at the same time! But God chose us to be parents and as my girls get older, he continues to give us the strength, the courage, and the words each and every day! Thank you for writing this! I hope many will read it and take it to heart because life is hard , especially as a teen! I am very proud of you and the beautiful woman you have become! You have wonderful parents that I deeply admire and I know they are very proud of you too!

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