Not long ago, I shared a blog post attempting to give adults a more understanding perspective of the teenager’s burden. Today, I thought I would share an analogy I often tell teenagers to help their perspective.
First, I start by pointing out that, if we are being honest, you probably feel like you are the main character in your story. Don’t be ashamed, I think that is pretty normal for everyone since we see life through our own eyes. And, again not to be offensive, truth be told, at the end of the day, one of the most important factors is that we are ok.
So, right now, how do you know you are ok?
This question is only difficult, because it seems too obvious. The answer is that you can immediately look and see. No ninjas are attacking you currently, I assume. (If so, I suggest dealing with that before finishing this blog.) You can tell you are breathing. If you need to double check, you can take a moment and feel your heart beating. You know you are ok in this moment. You may be anxious about your future, your next meal or some ongoing drama, but on the most basic level, you can tell you are alive.
Now, imagine through some miracle of magic or science, you could take your heart out of your body and put it in a box. And as long as your heart was ok, you were ok. Now, if you are really playing along and letting your imagination run with this, what do you think you would do with that box?
Most people say they would lock it up, hide it or never let it out of their sight.
Now, what if one of your buddies wanted to borrow your heart in a box? You know, just take it along with them and show some of their friends at the mall?
Most people wouldn’t allow that.
Now, what if it was absolutely imperative that your heart in a box underwent some maintenance? Suppose it has to be cleaned or repaired so that you can continue living. And what if, for some reason, you were not allowed to go with it. Suppose a friend was going to take it in for maintenance for you. How would you feel while it was gone?
Anxious, worried, unable to really relax or focus on anything else?
Would you call or text regularly to get updates from your friend that everything was ok?
You probably would not feel ok while your heart was out of your sight.
And what if your friend did not respond to a text? What if they were an hour late without letting you know why?
You would probably be terrified.
And when your friend got back later and said they took a detour to a another friend’s house, how would you feel?
Would you be livid? Would there be some choice words or worse?
If you really tried imagining this strange scenario, I bet you got a brief feeling of that roller coaster of emotions.
Well, when you have a child, it is like putting your heart in a box. For a parent, they are no longer the most important person in their life, their child is. Most parents are willing to die for their children.
And as soon as I make that connection, most teenagers suddenly get a glimmer of why their parents are so annoying. Always setting rules, texting constantly, showing so little trust. Now their anger that you were half an hour late makes sense, when it seemed so trivial before.
Really, given this perspective, it is actually a miracle that parents ever let their children out of their sight. Some don’t. But most parents realize that it has to happen. One of a parent’s main goals is to raise independent children, so at some point they know they have to let go. But this is why it is so hard. Letting go and trusting a child is one of the hardest things for a parent to do, and it is usually a difficult transition for the parents and the child. Just try to be understanding.
And don’t give your parents a heart attack for no good reason, ok?