What Our 17 year-old Got Up to Last Night at Midnight
Think your teens aren't taking in what you're saying? Think again.
Shock around the breakfast table.
Not at my husband's perfect eggs benedict. We aren't shocked by that anymore. He keeps trying to perfect them and we don't let on that they're already there. We're thrilled taste-testers happy to keep eating them week after week. They are soooo good. But even better than the Hollandaise sauce on Sunday mornings is the conversation around the table.
Last night, a friend of my son's came and picked him up at 9 pm and they went out to do who knows what. Before they left, I asked him where they were going. He was super-specific. "I don't know, we'll drive around and see where we end up." Oh, ok. That's nice. Exactly the information I was hoping for. And he assured me that I had nothing to worry about. Moms of 17 year-old sons, are you with me?
So this morning, we were shocked when our son revealed where he was last night at midnight.
For one more week, all our kids are living at home. We have two daughters - the 22-year-old singer/songwriter and the 20-year-old environmentalist/watercolourist, and a 17-year-old son - the high school student/risk-taker/turn-my-hair-white-kid. Our middle child is off to university next week and so there will be fewer people around the table very soon. We're excited for her to meet people and to move on campus since her last year online was brutal, as it was for so many students across the globe.
My husband has his own morning routine. As an early riser, he religiously goes for a walk in rain, snow, or sun while listening to an inspiring podcast. He spends time in quietness and prayer every morning, often he journals and reflects. He is an optimistic, joy-filled guy whose presence is uplifting. He loves to encourage the cashier at the grocery store, the co-op students who spend a few months working for him, and the clients who he treats like friends.
He finds this routine super helpful for his personal growth but sometimes he wants the idea of a healthy morning routine to rub off on the kids a little too obviously if you know what I mean. Us parents can get so enthusiastic about the article, life lesson, or latest self-help book that has impacted us that we're convinced that it will have an equal impact on our adult-ish kids. Oh my goodness! Suzie and Johnny have to read the book/listen to the podcast/do the thing, we think. If it helped me so much, I know it'll help her/him too. You've said that, haven't you? All in the name of helping them figure out their lives!
It's not that our kids don't have their own morning routines. Because our oldest is a songwriter she naturally journals, spends time reflecting, and loves some quiet time every day, though not necessarily first thing in the morning. Our second daughter is less about routine but certainly appreciates quiet reflection and prayer but podcasts, not so much.
Our son? His morning routine goes something like this: Wake up late; run downstairs; try to push fist through the hole of whatever T-shirt was on the floor; inhale Mini Wheats with an entire carton of milk; scan kitchen for the keys to the car; leave the cereal box and milk carton on the counter as a gift for his precious mom; dash out the front door; get to work. Something like that. Ok, it's not really that bad all the time. Lately, he's been getting up for work with plenty of time to have breakfast and a coffee so we get to see his handsome face before he's off for the day. But his mornings are far from the serene sanctuaries my husband creates for himself before most of us have pushed the duvets off our sleepy bodies.
Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.
― Robin Sharma, 5 am Club
Many experts in personal growth and development, as well as those who desire spiritual growth, are vocal about the benefits of rising in the stillness of the early morning. It surely is the best time to gather your thoughts, to spend time in prayer, and to hear yourself think. But you can't convince your kids of that.
If you have, please get in touch. You're my new hero.
I suppose it's that you'd love to see them slow down a bit, think about life, get in touch with that still small voice inside. You know from experience that the sooner they can connect with themselves the more content they'll be. They won't compare themselves so much, they'll realize what's important in life, they'll become less entitled. And this is what my husband tries to express without being pushy.
But it doesn't really seem to get in their heads. Or does it?
Several months ago our son decided to start an online drop-shipping business. He came up with a cool name, bought the domain, built a website, and created an online shop for the site. He found products to put online and he launched it.
We've always encouraged our kids to be entrepreneurial and so we applauded him for making all this happen pretty much on his own. The site was creative, it did all the tech-y things that it was supposed to and it was his own idea. What I didn't love was that all his products were cheap things from China. While I understand people can make lots of money this way, it's just not my ethos. I would much rather buy products a LOT closer to home (if I lived in China I would buy Chinese products). I did mention this a few times, encouraging the business idea but suggesting he perhaps look for items from Canada to sell instead. What do I know about drop-shipping though? From a 17-year-old, brand new, drop-shipping business owner, obviously not very much.
Last week I was having a morning coffee with one of my girls (to you they'd be women, but to me, always girls) and I was saying that I'd have to ask her brother about his online business since he hadn't updated me lately. She said, "Oh he's not really into it as much these days. He doesn't love it that all his products were coming from China so he wants to find something else to do instead."
Hmmm…well isn't that interesting?
What else has he filed away that I've commented on? Please let it be all the good stuff.
We're big on our kids thinking for themselves and so it's not that I want him to stop his business because I wouldn't choose to carry items from so far overseas. I want him to think about it, to consider why it matters to me, and then to decide if it also matters to him. I support him no matter what (well, on this I support him no matter what. There is no support given when he thinks it's a good idea to longboard full-out with no helmet on down a snake-like road at dusk. That, I'll never support him on. So I never hear about those things until after the fact. Lord help me!).
So this morning at breakfast, with mouths full of our savory feast, we tried listening to an inspirational podcast but it just wasn't 'doing it' for us so we turned it off. The kids started chatting about their personal growth journeys and how much, even though he may not realize it, my husband's morning practices have influenced them.
The girls have picked up some of the books that he's reading and a few times this summer they've gotten up a little earlier to enjoy the still sunrises.
And our teen? Last night after driving around and then driving around some more, he and his buddy ended up at McDonald's. Super exciting stuff. Not really. But when he came home and went to bed he just couldn't fall asleep. So with his dad in mind, he went outside and laid on a bench under the stars for over a half-hour to 'meditate'.
Just like you do, dad.
He's figuring out his own personal and spiritual growth routine.
I trust it was beautiful and quiet there under the stars for him last night. We didn't ask him what he meditated on. Whatever it was, it was inspired by the steadfastness he sees in his dad.
Good or bad, they're taking it in. Let our stars shine on!