Yesterday, spur of the moment plans were made to bring him home for the weekend. A wave of excitement, followed by another wave of concern flowed through me.
A local church was holding a day-long retreat, and he was given an opportunity to earn service hours by setting up chairs, registering participants, and serving meals. We thought that this would be a great opportunity, especially since the retreat was geared towards being the best man you can be.
Within the first 20 minutes of his arrival, he had begun the exhaustive dialogue of “Why do I have to do this?” and “Why can’t I go out with my friends tonight?”
To those questions, my strength came from many sources…Consistent support from friends, family, and strangers, growing older and wiser, my faith, and yesterday’s mail.
Just hours before he came home, the letter from the Assistant District Attorney arrived. Now, some may ask, “Why would a child’s own mother let the world know of such letter?”
Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s because we are not alone. Hundreds of parents in my little community receive a version of this letter each and every month. And thousands of parents in the Midwest receive this letter each month, too. This is not a secret. It’s just reality. Teenagers today are participating in dangerous activities. The laws our police officers enforce are legal eye-openers for those who are ready to see.
At 16, his decisions are driven by the teenage brain. Someday, his decisions will be driven by his mature, adult brain. It is our job to keep him safe until that glorious day arrives. (Legally, I’d prefer that to be by the time he reaches the age of 18.)
As an adult-brained person, something is driving me to face this challenge with honesty and humility. And even as M was badgering us and whining last night about the fact that no one will ever want to come to our house because of how “nuts” he thinks we are, a calm was washing over me…
This is a child, my child. He needs love, support, and strong parenting just like he did when he was little. And when he was little, the moms on park benches from whom I learned the most, were honest, humble, and helpful. And they were not worried about what others might think.
I don’t have any answers, and I don’t claim that “my way is the best way.” All I know is that The District Court of _______ County is trying to help my son open his eyes a little. I don’t see how sharing that could be a bad thing.