My middle-aged eyes can still recall what my naive, fearful, and immature teenage eyes saw so many years ago. Kids drank and smoked and had parties and broke rules and got in trouble during my high school days. I certainly wasn’t perfect, but my parents would probably tell you that I was a relatively easy teenager. I liked school, I liked making my parents proud, and I loved watching “The Love Boat” with my mom and sister on Saturday nights. (Perhaps I was a bit unusual.)
But I did get in trouble…twice. Neither incident had to do with alcohol, drugs, sex, cheating, or the law. Instead, one had to do with a pom-pon trophy case, while the other had to do with writing in wet cement. (Boy, I sound like a rebel.)
Case #1: The Pom Pon Trophy Display Disaster…
For some reason, my friends and I liked to figure out what words would spell if they were written backwards. (Remember…we didn’t have cell phones, laptops, or iPods.) Popular words and phrases around our high school were favorites with which to jumble. Unfortunately, one favorite made-up word from pom pon camp was a bad word spelled backwards.
As a couple of my fellow teammates and I were decorating our glass display case, we thought it would be fun to sprinkle favorite little sayings from our camp experience on the back poster. In a nutshell…We spelled one of the bad words backwards and taped it to the background. Then my old tennis coach noticed what the word said in its reflection, and before we knew it – my pom pon friends and I were suspended from performing for the next two “home” games. (Tragic.)
Case #2: Wet Cement TMI…
As our bus brought us back from an “away” match and rolled up to the front of the school, my fellow tennis teammates and I noticed that the front steps of the school had been given a coat of fresh cement. We all were tempted to run our fingers through it – but not everybody did.
Unfortunately for me, I was one of the impulsive kids who couldn’t keep her fingers out of it. And it gets worse…I didn’t just “run” my fingers through it. I wrote my first and last name and my phone number.
My high school’s front steps welcomed 2,400 students each morning. What was I thinking? (Aha…I wasn’t thinking.)
Luckily, a sick feeling was brewing in my stomach by the time I got home. The guilt (and realization of the stupidity I exhibited on the front steps for all to see) had gotten to me.
In another nutshell…I told my parents. My dad drove me up to school where we found a maintenance man smoothing over my contact information written for all to see on the front steps. I helped the man put away his tools, and then I apologized to the man and my parents.
In 1984, teenagers broke rules, got in trouble, and some even made their parents sick with worry. What’s going on today in our house is not a new phenomenon – but I’m convinced that the stakes are higher in 2012 than they were when I was a teenager. (And I’m so glad that I didn’t have Facebook and cell phones and computers to document my mistakes. Sometimes, I feel sorry for teenagers today.)
M, Here’s what I want you to know – I didn’t always make the smartest decisions when I was a teenager. Sometimes Nene and Papa had to get me back on track too.
When the decisions your precious child makes go from being downright laughable to downright detrimental, you are going to find a way to get their attention and say, “I love you too much to let you do this.”
That’s all there is to it.
I love you,