I like clean surfaces. I like things in their places. I like walls without clutter. I like things my way. I am the mom. It is my house. My rules.
I am now a teenager mom. The once little child who was there for my molding and correction in all things now desires to be their own self. This has brought me to much inner thought and debate. As in all things in life....we are on a journey. We are not brought into motherhood knowing what we are doing. It is always a journey of trial and error. I really thought I figured out the little kids. I can mostly make them do what I want. They are mostly obedient. They get sent to their room if they don't. They keep their things where I want them to. They play with whomever I approve of, they come home before it is dark (mostly). I pack their lunches so I know what they are eating (mostly). I have control and if I loose control and they choose the wrong path, their consequences in life at this point are minor; a yellow light at school, a lost lunch recess or a call from another mom. All things that can be corrected.
Now, I am a teenager mom. I don't know what I am doing for certain. This is new territory. I do know for certain that with this job as teenager mom, the consequences are now real and life altering. If they choose the wrong path, it may mean addiction, early parenthood, jail, etc. The real deal. No missed recesses, no yellow lights. The idea of me having to help guide these teenage souls is overwhelming. It deserves great thought and much prayer. I have tried a few routes. I have tried to control. I have tried to demand and make my ideas and will the "way". I have realized now at this point that my job is now different. My job is not to make this child submissive to my will but obedient to His will. This child must choose for himself. This child must have an inner desire to be good because that is what he should do, not do what his mom makes him do. This child needs to find himself, his talents, his quest in life. This child needs room to wiggle, to stretch.
Thus....my intro picture. The dresser. The wall. Not my idea when I started to decorate the room. The snake skin from the real snake he skinned himself. The peacock feather. The art. Clutter. Dust collectors. However, this child has taught me something as I repeatedly asked him to clear the area.
"Mom....I want my stuff. I want the room to be me. I don't want it sterile and "you". I need space."
I thought..... That statement was bigger than he realized. He needed to be himself. Teenagers have a lot on their plates. They don't even understand half of their emotions and we make it worse sometimes. I realized I needed to back off a little and give him wiggle room. He needed to start to be on his own a bit. Make his own decisions and even his own mistakes. It is his life in the end. Not mine. I will not be there in college, in marriage.
I had wise parents in my growing up years. We had little rules. We had ultimate trust. We knew , more than anything, that if we broke that trust, the rules would be instituted. The reigns would be drawn in. We understood that if we did what we were supposed to do, we could have freedom. We could have car keys. We could stay out late. They knew we would do what we said we would do. I didn't understand what wise parenting this was until now. I see other teens with much restriction. I see their resentment towards their parents. Does this make them more obedient? Many times it only proves the opposite. They sneak behind parents backs, they rebel. They feel they are not trusted by their parents so why prove them wrong? I am not naive enough to believe that children will always choose good but I know that they need the opportunity to do so. They need room to be themselves . Decorate the desk. Hang up snake skin. When I let go a bit with my son, when I gave him a little less stress at home, the change was immediate. He was relaxed. He was happy and a pleasure to be with. Instead of making my home a place he escaped from, it became a place he was drawn to. He felt happy here. His friends feel happy here. Maybe they just like my food. I don't know but I love having him home. I love that he is happy that I am his mom. I love that he knows he can tell me about his girlfriends and what he did that night. He trusts me as much as I trust him.
I still don't know everything about being a teenage mom but I think I am getting it. If we examine how the Lord parents it is much the same. He told Adam and Eve to not eat the apple. He gave them the consequence. He left them alone and let them make their own choice. They chose the apple. He came back to them. He did not yell at them to go to their room. He did not tell them he did not love them and that they were dumb for making that decision. He showed love. He saw their choice and told them that they now needed to live the consequence that they chose. It was their choice.
I am sure He was sad as he sent them on their way. I am sure He wanted to fix it all but He couldn't . He could only teach them to make better decisions by the consequence that they now had to live.
I want to be this kind of parent. I am learning. I will make mistakes. I will pray. I will trust. I will hope.