Sunday, May 16, 2010

I was just wondering

So last Friday we had a Family Date to the park. Barbecue chicken, chips, jello salad, grilled lemon asparagus, the works. We played, we ate, and we played some more.

Then a whole bunch of middle schoolers showed up.

Now I know you are probably all collectively rolling your eyes at the blight upon humanity that is middle schoolers, but I didn't. At first, anyway.

Then the obnoxiousness started.

A bunch of boys were flirting with a bunch of girls, and then the bunch of girls started bickering and the bunch of boys started being stupid. It ended when a bunch of boys did something rude to a bunch of girls and a dad was called and he showed up and cussed out the boys, who then went home.

My Man and I raised our eyebrows a lot, but mostly we just ate during all the drama.

On the way home, we passed another group of boys - high schoolers this time, by the looks them - just hanging out on a street corner. Hoodies and shorts, all. I couldn't help eyeing them suspiciously as we drove by. What were a gaggle of teenage boys doing on a street corner at 7:00 at night, I ask of you?!

(Most likely nothing.)

As I looked at each of those boys in the eye, I couldn't help thinking. Every one of you has a mother who thinks the world of you. And you probably deserve it.

So here's my question. When do boys stop being (at least in the eyes of the general population) precious little princes and start becoming disreputable hooligans? Every baby boy starts his life being coddled and cooed over, then works his way up to being ignored, and finally completes his youth by making everyone in the vicinity wary and suspicious. Especially when there's more than one.

I have four. And it hurts my heart to think anyone would ever think of them as anything less than perfect.

Because they are.


Jocelyn Christensen said...

I was thinking this same thing this evening as I was trying to cuddle my boy like a baby...but his four year old body was jutting out from my embrace. They'll always be our little our hearts!

heidizinha said...

Dude, we have the same playmat! Skiphop. So cute!

Rocketgirl said...

I was jsut reading journals from high school, and came across some of my shenanigans I thought were soooo coola t the time. Walking through a McDonald's drive through, chinese fire drills at stop lights on the way to the church dances - all harmess really, but when I see teens acting like that I roll my eyes. Dang it seemed so cool then. I think teaching high school that one year was when I learned to roll my eyes at the hooligans :) And your boys shall NEVER be one. I promise you :)

Kazzy said...

You know I have four myself, 21, 19, 14 and 12. At some point they decide certain things about themselves- like hair and clothes and friends. But to me it all boils down to a parent's love and faith in that child. That will never make it perfect, but I know for a fact that my boys know we love them and have high hopes for them and know they can accomplish great things. They also know we have standards and expectations. Free will steps in, but the good relationship with mom is always in the back of their minds, no matter the choices made. It is a tough thing to have older kids. When they are young it is about meeting a lot of the basic needs, and as they get older the game changes.

I really really like teens. I think it is the time to give responsibility and then reward. It is a time to shape character. Unfortuntely, some kids this age are left out to dry because parents are tired and give up.

Danielle said...

After working for a few years in elementary schools in the Bay Area of California, I can assure you that kids with parents as good and as involved as you guys are almost never end up on street corners.

You make your kids feel like they have a home and you give them a sense of identity. So they won't need to conform to the street kids to feel better about themselves.

Don't worry-- your boys will find other kindred spirits (with similar views on life and education). The kids on the street corners might tease them a bit, but mostly they'll just be intimidated by their stability and will leave them alone. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I don't know. All I hope is that something about my home and the way it feels makes my boys and their friends want to hang out there instead of the street corner.

Kristina P. said...

I think that around 11-12, or junior high age, that's when things start to change. Their influences really start to shift, and they start to look at their friends for guidance, more so than their parents. Not always the case, but generally.

Keep loving them and keep open lines of communication.

Lara said...

I can't decide if it's worse that I have girls. Some of the girls I see that are in middle school/high school scare the pants off of me.

I like the advice on this thread. Wise words.

RH said...

10, that is the age. I watched each of my 5 younger brothers go from sweet, cuddly, loving, little men into villians the year following their 10th birthday. Yea for hormones. At least you don't have girls, my sister and I were 6. (well really more like 9, but it started more slowly, with a full bloom at 9). Our own princess is well on her way too. But I do have to add, that I LOVE my naughty boys at church, they are 9-11. Sometimes boy naughty is so much more forgiving than girl naught.

Lesa said...

Great thoughts and worries.

My youngest turned 12 last week and yesterday when he became a deacon, I had some of these same thoughts.

I have decided that it is important to remember that we need to do our best as Moms and think about all our accomplishments as Moms and not worry about all the things we think we should be doing but didn't/don't.

Hopefully our best will turn these young men into men that love to be at home and not on street corners.

Happy Mom said...

Handsome young men! Every last one of 'em!

I've known many a teenage boy who were almost completely devoid of any tendancies that would make adults cringe.

Oh, sure, they did the JOHN bad, and their bedroom floors were rarely seen, but in public, they tended to smile and help and work and play in ways that induced smiles.

I've thought long and hard about the differences between them and those "scary boys". I got nothing conclusive. But I do know that every last one of those amazing boys came from homes with continually engaged parents. (Places like your pad, I would imagine)

Kimberly said...

I like what Kazzy said. A lot. I've seen that so much over the years. The ways parents give up on their teens. If your boys ever adopt hooliganism it'll just be a passing phase, because their mom? Is not the giving up sort. At all.

Harmony said...

I think I'm going to start the Adopt-a-Hooligan program.

It just sounds funny. That's all.

DeNae said...

My 14-year old son came home from a fireside last night, and said, "I feel sorry for {so and so}. He has such a rotten relationship with his parents." Then he gave me a hug and said, "I'm glad you're my mom."

And if a wicked, imperfect soul like me can raise a kid like that, you'll do just fine.

I will say this: Society is waaaay harder on our men than it is on our women, and it's up to us to help our boys value their roles as sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, and priesthood holders. Example, love, patience, and prayer. These help a LOT.

And Kazzy is a wise woman. Listen to her.

Morgan -Ing said...

I have three, and I share your trepidation. I am determined that MINE will be gentlemen. (I say this as they are screaming at each other on the swing set...) I'm not sure how we'll get there though.

Wonder Woman said...

Having served in Cubscouts, it seems that this transformation takes place around 8 years old. :o) Being a mom of boys, I'm hoping for never. Can't we just skip the hard stuff, till they leave on their missions? I want them to have all the strength and experience from those years, but not to have to *endure* them.

-sigh- Goodness. You've made me think.

MommyJ said...

My oldest is nine... he's still a gentleman. He loves his mama, he gets me water every single time I sit down to nurse the baby even if I don't ask. But he's still an obnoxious, rowdy boy. He's sarcastic, he's rambunctious, he's totally ridiculous most of the time. Because he's a boy.

But there are always moments. Moments when I see the true character of his soul... a soul that for the time being is stuck in a prepubescent kid. But that won't last forever, and I have faith that when adolescence falls away, his true character is what will remain.

Sharon said...

I teach high school, and I can say with certainty that your boys will never be the hoodies-on-street-corner types. I know many good, honest, pleasant teenage boys (and girls, too). Many of them brighten my days and are fun to be around (have hope, world!).

One of the most tragic things I have to witness, however, is the opposite of what you thought when you observed those boys. Some boys actually do not have mothers who think the world of them. Some boys (and girls) do not have mothers (or fathers) who think of them at all.

It breaks my heart to little pieces because I have teenagers, too, and the idea of sending them into the world without the sure knowledge of my love and support is unthinkable. But many of those "street corner" types of kids don't have that love and support in their lives at all. It's so sad, and I know I can only do so much as their teacher, but sometimes I pray for those kids whose lives are so messed up, not because of their own choices, but the choices of irresponsible parents.

Sorry to go's almost the end of the school year, and I have to wonder what the future will hold for some of my students.

Your boys are beautiful! They will continue to shine in large part because of your love and amazing parenting!

You rock!

Melissa Bastow said...

Sometimes I stay awake at night worrying my boys will someday be hooligans. Is it possible to avoid that stage? Pre-teen/teenage boys scare the living poop right out of me. But then again, so do pre-teen/teenage girls...just not as much.

Melanie J said...

I'm not trying to take away from your point here, but the thing is, I taught middle school for five years and I know the answer.

It starts at thirteen. Trust me.