From the time I was first pregnant and found out I’d be having a girl, many people commented about “watching out for the teenage years.” After Olivia was born, people would see her quick smile, bright eyes, and questioning nature and say “you’ll have your hands full when she’s a teenager.” Now, as a kindergartener, when people ask how old she is, too often the response is along the lines of “6 going on 16″.
I get it. The teenage years are trying and they are coming at us at lightning speed. I was a teenaged girl myself not too long ago (and definitely added a few grey hairs to my parents’ heads).
But let’s get real about teenagers today.
Nearly every day in the newsroom, there is at least one story of an amazing teen.
Yesterday, we had the story of the high school Junior who taught himself 11 languages, and then used that knowledge to help non-native English speaking students acclimate to their new school. He also worked (without being asked) with teachers to translate lessons so the new students could continue to learn. And if that’s not enough, he is set to graduate this spring, as a Junior.
Today, there’s the North Medford High School student who is donating nearly $4,000 to buy bullet proof vests for Medford Police K9 cops.
And this is just a tiny sampling of the outstanding things our teenagers are doing that deserve to be featured in our newscasts (and often are).
So do I dread the teenage years? No.
I’ll miss having little ones around who want to snuggle on my lap (without judging my coffee breath.) I’m sure I’ll set some rules and guidelines that will earn eye-rolls, teeth-sucking, and scowls. But those minor challenges of authority will be built upon a solid foundation of clear expectations of behavior, open communication, and love.
And I expect (hope) that between the fears of alcohol, boys, driving, and curfews, all of our kids will accomplish some amazing and inspiring things in the teen-years.
And I can’t wait to share their stories and help our teens set the record straight about what they are accomplishing.
How have you been impressed by teens in our area? Are my expectations seen through rose-colored glasses? Share your child’s story to help improve the public’s view of how amazing teenagers can be.