Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
And I am looking forward to it.
Early this morning, I confided to my friend (whose oldest son is now a man-sized 14) that I simply refuse to dread my kids' teen years. I am truly and eagerly anticipating them! She wholeheartedly fortified that ideal, adding that all the investment we put into our kids now will pay off then. She is already seeing the fruit of it, as her son is recognized by many as a wonderful, Godly young man and she still enjoys a close relationship with him.
I must admit that the word "teenager" has such a negative connotation in my mind that I find it difficult to apply to this young fellow and others I have met like him. My own nieces, for example, are not "teenagers" in the sense our wretched, warped culture regards them but sparkling, inspiring, Godly, and devoted young ladies who will make wonderful wives and mothers. Both are gifted with beauty and brains, and both value family and have good priorities and good sense. Oh, they are not perfect--none of us are, but they are not the so-called "typical" rebellious youth full of anger and angst. They are kind, decent, honest, and wholesome ladies who bring joy to their mother and to their whole family. I count myself blessed to even know them, much less to be related to them. They, too, inspire me as a mother.
Finally, in the evening I met another lady whose oldest is 15, and she also had motivating words about the close and tender mother-son relationship they still maintained. She was honest, saying they had dealt with issues here and there, but she was thankful that she could be there to deal with them.
For me, standing on the brink of these things, both conversations served as a welcome and timely reminder that the teaching and training I am doing is by calling and not an option. All the difficulties of homeschooling and training, all the days I wish I could have a substitute or a fund-raiser for my school, all the times I muster a giggle after listening to snippets from books that my kids find hilarious and I just...don't, every single time I ground them from friends so they can remember how to act towards each other, each teachable moment where Scripture comes alive for us because of an event or opportunity during the day, and all the other myriad details that I could pile up until you wept from sheer boredom--all of it is a gift from God.
And when they are grown... I will cherish the quiet moments of their infancy. I will miss the noise and chaos of their childhood. I will be thankful for the opportunity to shepherd them through their youth and into adulthood. If I am allowed to continue homeschooling them until they graduate, I will praise God that I was able to spend 18 or so years with each of them, and I will be grateful for every single day that we had together.
No, I will not dread the teen years. I will relish them as the final season of my parenthood, I will delight in my young adults, and I will give thanks for the precious days we have had together and the precious days we have left.