Years ago, I volunteered to work with a group of teenage girls at my church. The other workers were moms of teens or tweens; but I had only been married a short while and didn’t have children yet. In order to prepare for the upcoming year, we met with volunteers from other churches for a joint training on the program we would be leading.
“Let’s get started,” our leader said, “by naming some qualities of teenage girls.” The moms needed no further encouragement.
The critical adjectives just kept coming. Eventually, I raised my hand and said, “How about ‘fun?’”
The moms, looked at me, their expressions offering a mix of pity and indignation. Shaking their heads at my youth and ignorance, they assured me that when I had my own teenagers, I would feel differently.
And they were right.
Now that I have my own three teenagers and spend much of my life with them and other teens, I do feel differently. Teens are not just fun. They are serious and playful; passionate and confused; hope-filled and desperate. Some are transparent, some are more complex than anyone realizes, some are angry, and some are hopelessly optimistic. They are scholars, athletes, musicians, politicians, and more.
Really, teens are just like people of all ages; except that often, teenagers are lots more fun!