Have I ever mentioned how much I love teenagers? Raising little ones has its perks--wilted dandilion boquets, cuddling up for bedtime stories, chubby cheeks begging to be kissed. But there's something about the conversations that one can have with a teen that have me hooked.
Take tonight for example. These are just a few things Sweet Sixteen and I discussed--atheism, human nature, politics, drugs, fast food and its resulting fat cells, forgiveness, poetry, Jane Goodall, the plot of Lord of the Flies, ear-piercing, the stimulus package, and God. Three hours of heart to heart. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. I can't seem to get enough of watching my teens grow into themselves. Questioning. Thinking. Changing. Becoming.
It scares me when they voice their confusion about their testimonies and what they are unsure of in their lives. But then I walk by their bedroom in the middle of the day and catch them on their knees in prayer or absorbed in the scriptures, and that's when that I know that they will be okay. Someone who loves them even more than I do--perish the thought--is in charge.
I guess I just didn't expect parenting to get more rewarding as my kids got older because all I ever heard (and experienced--sorry, Mom and Dad) was how hard teens were supposed to be.
One of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis, has a book titled Surprised By Joy. And that's just how I feel. I must admit there are times that I also feel Surprised by Pain, or Surprised by Disobedience, or Surprised by Lack of Common Sense...but for the most part I am grateful to have been surprised by joy.