Teenagers are hard. Sometimes I don't know whether their crazy is from being a teenager or a lack of changing. Somedays it feels like we have the same conversation a hundred times and no one is listening. I'm just talking to myself, or the dogs, or the mosquitos. Even I joke and I tell the boys that I am going to buy a tape recorder and just record my voice so I don't have to say the same things over and over.
But then there are moments, and I feel so proud, and I see how they are listening even though they act like they aren't. I see that the lessons and the conversations have taken root in their mind and are coming to life.
One such lesson is in honesty. I tell the boys that they need to take responsibility for their choices. More specifically, I tell them if they are man enough to make the choice, they should be man enough to admit it. I am trying to teach them that they have free will to make whatever choice they want, but there are always consequences to our choices. I tell them if they can make the choice, then they must take responsibility for the choice. I am also trying to teach them that lying is never an option because the truth always comes out and then it is worse.
Last week, a boy made a choice that he knew he shouldn't make even though he made it with good intentions. It resulted in disaster and he was afraid to tell me. His friends told him to just hide it and fix it before I got back and I would never know. But he was listening. He heard all of the things I have been telling him. We were on the phone and he told me he had bad news and he was scared to tell me. He warned me I was going to be so angry at him. When he told me, it was bad. I wanted to scream!
But there were lessons to learn, so I took a deep breath and thanked him for telling me the truth because I knew it was hard for him to do. We agreed that he would never repeat the mistake and he apologized probably 100 times. Even though I wanted to scream, I knew if I did, that would change how he saw grace and it would discourage him from being honest. It was a hard week with boys getting in trouble at school, and I needed this.
Changes are happening, no matter how slow, we are getting there. They are listening. And I couldn't be more proud of the young men they are turning into.