You know how it is with teenagers. They live by a very specific philosophy:
When in doubt, ARGUE.
And they do this quite well; to the point where arguing becomes second nature to them.
Any parent: “how about hamburgers for supper?”
Any teenager: “I HATE hamburgers.”
Parent: “Since when?”
Teenager: “Since we have them all the time.”
Parent: “We haven’t had hamburgers since the family BBQ in July.”
Teenager: “Yes. Because I hate them.”
Parent: *sigh of exasperation* “Okay. Then we’ll have spaghetti.”
And they don’t just argue about the supper menu. They argue about EVERYTHING.
They argue when you ask them to do something . . .
“Can you empty the dishwasher please?”
Teenager: “It’s not my turn.”
They argue when you remind them to take care of their personal hygiene . . .
“Did you brush your teeth?”
Teenager: “Do I look 13 to you?” (Actual recent come-back from my 14 year old.)
They argue when you tell them what the plans are for the weekend . . .
“Pack an overnight bag. We’re sleeping on the farm tonight.”
Teenager: “Awww, I HATE the farm. There’s nothing to do there.”
Last weekend though I decided to put my foot down.
Me: “Don’t argue. That’s the plan. And don’t forget your toothbrush.”
Even I was surprised at how assertive that came out. I was determined to spend some quality time with my kids somewhere other than home – where laundry and chores constantly scream for my attention. And where my kids bury their attention in their video games. (I’m as guilty as any parent when it comes to letting my kids get entertained – also known as “babysat” – by devices.)
But even though I had won the battle, I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I was going to spend most of the weekend listening to a bored teenager complain about how life isn’t fair and how being bored AND having to spend time with me is akin to some kind of hell.
And I admit, listening to the perpetual complaints of boredom was in total contrast to the peaceful setting of our farm:
50 acres of green fields and trees. No direct neighbours. No electricity. No deadlines. And no schedule. Bliss to me. Torture for my kids; in particular, my 14 year old son Jonathan.
But then something happened. Something that surprised even Jonathan. (Let the record show that I practically had to surgically remove his computer from his lap before we set out into the wild west of our weekend destination.)
My son . . . Jonathan . . . Future geek . . . Got on a bicycle and drove down the country road. And – get this – enjoyed it!
The wonders of this weekend don’t stop there. Since I had no mounds of laundry to beckon me into the oblivions of household duties, I got to join in the family fun of teaching our kids how to throw knives. And who can resist throwing a weapon against an old, falling down barn?
Apparently no one!