I recently noticed something about two family units in our extended family who have teenagers; they enjoy being with each other! The teens, all of whom have full and active social lives, still hang out with their parents and sibling. The parents, who work hard but don’t let discipline slide or communication lapse, still relate well to their teens and spend real, quality time with them. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with these two families around separate dinner tables and witnessing the laughter and joy and fun that they have together.
And I want that for our family. I don’t know if these parents consciously and deliberately planned for their families to be cohesive or if it’s in their nature as people to get along well. I can already see that my kids have great personalities. JBelle is inquisitive, smart and has an infectious laugh. GMan is a funny guy who keeps us laughing but he’s also caring, quite persistent, engagingly energetic. Even now they can be, when they’re not whining or being demanding, fun to be with. When they’re young, like ours are now, they want to be with us. They request our presence and relish our attentions. We played an impromptu game of kickball in the backyard a few nights ago. It lasted maybe fifteen minutes but it was a lot of fun! And already, even though it is still two months away, the kids are talking about and looking forward to our annual trip to Pennsylvania to work at Camp Manatawny.
It gives me hope for the future. I know parenting those teenagers hasn’t been a complete walk in the park for those parents, but they haven’t had many of the problems so many other parents face with their teens either. I keep seeing how these early years are ultimately the easy part of parenting. And I really, really hope that our family can continue to be a family that can have fun and enjoy being together.