Seventeen. You remember being seventeen, yes? The reality of the adult world starts coming at you. There are choices to be made, college applications, ACT tests, mission preparations, jobs, girls, group dates, future, future, future. It can be stressful for a young man and my young man is feeling it.
Being a widow, this is hard for me, because I’ve never been a seventeen year old YM facing the kind of responsibilities and expectations that he is, so I rely completely on the Lord to guide us through this phase of his life. And I have been made aware that although my husband has died, he has not been relieved of his family responsibilities, but is working on the other side of the veil to make things happen for us.
The things this seventeen year old is worrying about are:
- ACT testing
- mission (it would be wise to find out the preparations before they turn 19)
- paying for a mission
- college major
- taking care of the disabled family members when I am gone, if necessary
- bill paying
- zero experience with children since he is the baby
- Eagle Scout project
- Duty to God
This list is quite intimidating and I do not doubt it will grow. I asked the Lord for guidance, how help Patrick face his fore-ordained future and choices of the future.
- I was prompted to approach the YM president and Branch President, men who have been through this, for help.
- My son and I talked about putting things into proper time frame and perspective. At 17, he doesn’t have to worry really hard about marriage and family (that will fall into place at the proper time. I am sure of it) but needs to focus on dating standards found in “For The Strength of the Youth.”
- I will be there to teach him about bill paying at the proper time.
- Yes, we need to get on the Eagle Scout project, and Duty to God.
- Academically, we are focusing on ACT prep this year and college applications.
- The Lord IS involved if we invite Him to be.
Patrick has been blessed in the past year with great personal growth and I would have to say that came in the form of a family friend being inspired to offer him a job (I had been praying mightily for a need to be met.) Having this job (which is recommended for mission preparation) has helped his confidence. He interacts with strangers. He looks them in the eye and smiles. This confidence has led to being willing to sing and play his Ukulele and guitar publicly. It has become easier to ask girls on dates (though it is harder to get other guys involved for a group date). This confidence will help in speech, interpretation, “improv” and debate (where he struggled last year out of shyness).
What pleases me is that my son can, and will, talk to me about anything. It is necessary to be the kind of parent that your teen can talk to. About ANYTHING! How do we become that?
- Study how our Heavenly Father deals with us, His children, when we come to Him
- Listening is important, as He listens to us
- Bury your own swords of rebellion that you may carry around
- Counsel with the Lord about your children. He knows them best.
- Listen for His answers.
- The Lord is involved, if we invite Him to be
How have you helped your teens through this period?
Teresa is a widow, with 4 children still at home, 2 of whom are special needs adults and still homeschooling after the age of 18, when their greatest progress began. One son is high school age, gearing up for his final year of home schooling. Having special needs children has taught them that normal is only a setting on a washing machine. They embrace their Inner Rubber Chickens, leaving a puff of feathers in their wake. You can find them at Wockenflock Daze.