We have been invited to this barbecue for the past 4 years.
We are the only (active) members of our church on our block and of the 4 families invited we are the only ones with young (or any) children.
The family that invites us has a teenage son who plays the cello and I have taught him at summer strings for a few years.
The teenage son doesn't look like the typical cello player, he has very long hair and pants that fall to his knees and show most of his boxers.
Actually, the son has never even come outside for the barbecue in past years.
This year he had some friends with him.
One of his friends looked like him (it sounds judgmental, but they look like stoners), but the other 2 looked like normal (even good looking) kids.
It was obvious they saw 2 cute girls and wanted to meet them.
Corina left pretty early to finish homework before Sunday.
One of them didn't bother to hide his enthusiasm for Akayla's attention, (he was the normal looking kid) and flirted with her all evening.
Before we left the boy pulled Akayla aside and this was the conversation....
boy: so you're a mormon right?
boy: so are you like...a good mormon?
Akayla: you could say that......why?
boy: well, we're gonna go get some...stuff....and we want you to come with us and have a good time
Akayla: what stuff?
boy: some.....crack.....and stuff.
Akayla: uh.....probably not, sorry.
Akayla told me later about the conversation. At first I kind of laughed because if you really know Akayla you would never even think that someone would ask if she wanted to do something like that - most people think she's a total goody-goody.
Then as I thought about it I realized that if Akayla wasn't a strong girl, or if she really wanted to fit in and have a guy like her, or if she just felt a little rebellious.......she could have made something up or somehow gone off with them and really messed up her life.
This year Akayla has been really disappointed with some of the choices her friends are making.
I've mentioned before that she hangs out with mostly guys. Well a lot of her best friends got involved in some bad things this summer -- some serious pornography and other stuff.
She still really cares about them and she knows that teenagers are pretty stupid and they mess up a bit as they're trying to find themselves (I make her sound perfect when of course she ISN'T at all!). BUT it's still sad to see kids who know better doing really bad things that can really hurt them in the future.
So my thoughts today.......
It's crazy scary how this world has become.
And......you can't protect your kids from everything.
When kids are young is the time to talk about these things, but to KEEP TALKING is the most important thing we can do.
Keeping the lines of communication open with teenagers........not acting judgmental, being a friend - but also a parent, helping them turn their hearts to Heavenly Father, being open and always available, helping them feel the spirit, teaching them WHY - not just telling them no.........etc. IS THE ONLY WAY..................
It is blind stupidity to think your kid would never do something like that. Even good kids get involved in bad things. It's crazy what happens when kids want to fit in - and high school is tough!
But, one thing I am learning is that fear is the opposite of faith.
It is so easy to feel afraid for the future and the world we have to raise our kids in, but if we remember that these kids really aren't ours.......they are Heavenly Father's children, and He wants them to return to Him as much as we want them to............ He will inspire us and help us.
I've seen one of my siblings make choices that took him far away from the gospel. It's heart breaking for parents. And it's SOOOO EASY to judge other people especially when you've never even had teenagers of your own. I sure thought I knew a lot when I had young kids.
But if you truly have faith in the Savior and believe in the atonement you can't judge. You can only love people and believe that the atonement can save people. People (even our children) will make mistakes, but they can REPENT!! It's truly miraculous and I believe it with ALL MY HEART!
**I just heard Elder Lawrence's talk "To parents of teenagers" in conference. It was SOOO good! I wanted to just say amen to everything he was saying!!!**
So, on a lighter note.
Last night at the barbecue I was sitting by my 5 younger girls while Akayla and Corina were talking to the boys.
Mariah (as she's watching the boys) matter-of-factly states...
"Some boys don't like to pull their pants up"
Oh how we wish they did, don't we girls?!!!
God's love and mercy for all of us
general conference insights this weekend
traditional conference brunch and sugar cereal overload!