As a parent of ten children, the teen years have gone on in our home for a few decades now. There are wonderful things about these years, but there are challenges, as well. We’ve had some self-motivated, straight-A children, some who fall terribly behind and then a few in between. When the oldest are the high achievers, it is hard not to expect that the younger children will follow suit.
But they are each unique. And each deserves to be their own individual person, including what kind of student they are. They all need one-on-one time with their parents. This is more challenging in big families, but it must happen, even if it must be planned ahead. In a former blog I told stories of the many adventures on and off our Abbey Farm. Now we live on an Army Post and up until a couple months ago, had 6 (!) teens under one roof. The oldest recently turned twenty and is in the Army Reserves deciding on what college degree to pursue.
The fourteen-year-old has been making up school-work and was just in my room complaining about monotony. Oh, the many things I could have depressed him about in terms of monotony ahead in his future. I told him that he really was developing character, and that little jobs went a long way. Tidying up an area, taking a walk or bike ride. The twenty-year-old was home and I asked him to take his brother out for a drive, maybe get a milkshake. A change of scenery is always a good idea when we are in rumination mode.
For myself, I am in a bit of self-isolation, undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. It’s all been a shock of a summer, totally unexpected and I will neither elaborate, nor make light of it. A new normal begins once again. Much patience is required. I realize the importance of each of my children, and how I still want to be present in their lives while fighting a disease. They have all been supportive and reacted with such love and care and help. My husband has been my lifeline.
Friends have been so helpful, and some from long past have reconnected; it has been truly a gift. None of us looks forward to adversity, but in truth, it often sheds light on the very best things in life. It requires resilience through faith, a strong network of family and friends, and a lot of patience.