America the Teenager

America seems to be in a transitional time at the moment. Like a teenager, we seem to be trapped between childhood and adulthood. We aren't who we used to be, but we haven't become who we hope to be. And as uncomfortable as that can be, it is OK. Not only OK, but also essential. Everybody must pass through adolescence--often many times in life! It is part of the growing process. It is an essential time of stretching, changing and developing. In adolescence young people try on new ideas. They begin to explore new ways of moving through life. It is a time of flux and flow. At times it can seem like rebellion. And sometimes it is! For parents it means knowing how to pick your battles. It means putting up with things like nose rings and strange music and odd sleeping habits. And it means trusting in the foundation you laid for your child in his or her early years. trusting that the basic values will hold. A friend of mine frequently suggests that the best way to deal with adolescence would be to lock kids in their rooms when they turn thirteen, and then let them out again when they are twenty. Just slide meals under the door; maybe give them a fresh towel now and then. She's kidding of course. Yet many would like to simply gloss over such transitional times. But we can't, nor should we. It take patience. It takes faith. Faith in the process, faith in ourselves, faith in in the foundations and basic values we have held for years.

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