For the Love of Teenagers


A mess of middle school boys descend on our home to celebrate James and Ethan’s birthday. They are a glorious mix of long limbs and tossled hair and a kaleidoscope of personalities – each one hoping to lean towards cool instead of awkward.

One dad drops off his son, and we make small talk at the front door. He smiles and says, “Wow, you’re brave to have all these boys over!” 

I look out the glass front door as rain comes down in furious sheets. Not brave, I think to myself. More like crazy. 

With the outdoors out of commission, the boys join forces indoors over nerf guns, video games, The Princess Bride, and pizza. As the evening marches forward and they offer me platefuls overflowing with good manners, hilarious charm, and kindness, I’m surprised to discover I’m not crazy to have them over. I’m delighted.

These years of raising teens are something else.

I’m not about to get cocky – or lie – and say these teenage years are easy breezy, but I’m surprised at how many good and beautiful moments rest in them. At some point, I bought into the words all those well meaning older ladies told me, the women who would see me struggling with toddlers at the grocery store and say Just you wait ’til they’re teenagers! I guess that’s supposed to make new mamas realize no matter how hard raising little ones is, it will get much worse.

Awesome encouragement.

Oh yes, raising teens is difficult. There are I-could-ring-your-neck kinds of days. But I keenly remember those wonderful but busy years with toddlers and preschoolers, and I don’t think these teenage years are worse or better. They’re just different.

Late into the evening, the boy bunch takes over the basement, and I hear muffled hollering amidst nerf gun bullets. I smile, realizing the phrase I should have been dwelling on all these years is Can’t wait ’til they’re teenagers!

Tomorrow I may change my mind. But today, I’m surprised how much I love this parenting stage.

On Thursdays ’round here, we share out of the blue stories. Just tell us how God used something right out of the blue to build your faith, give you joy, or encourage your heart in the midst of your day. 

Some things to remember:

1. New to link-up’s or have questions about out of the blue? Read this first.

2. Since we all dig surprises, please surprise another writer by leaving a comment on her post *or* by giving her a facebook shout-out or tweet. Use the hashtag: #outoftheblue. 

3. Be sure to include the out of the blue banner {see above} in your post or link back to Chasing Blue Skies so your readers can join in the fun. That way, we can all easily find each other. 

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  1. says

    I love this, Kristen. I was a youth leader for years before I had kids of my own, so maybe because of that, I smile when people say, “Wait until they are teenagers.” I know they mean it as an admonition of doom, but I’m secretly looking forward to it. I just love those years of change and growth and exploration and development. My oldest just turned 12, so I’m on the verge, and I harbor no illusions it will be easy. But I think it will be awesome.

  2. Michelle Richmond says

    Kristen- I gratefully agree with your sentiments about raising teenagers. It has been such a surprise to arrive at the “just wait ’til their teenagers” stage only to find I am amazed at what God has done and is doing in the life of this young maturing lady. Some days I find parenting her much easier than my wound-up 8 year old. I love that I can discuss and reason with her about life’s greatest challenges and find that she actually can contribute profoundly to our conversation. Thanks for sharing and I am so glad the boys had a fun time celebrating Ethan and James!

  3. says

    This is the best “you just wait …” sentiment I’ve heard. :) Too often people in our society are “You just wait, you think this is hard, you wait until they’re teenagers!” Or “You just wait, until they’re driving …” Anything. People like shared dreadful experiences and I’m so glad to read this one, which, of course, is written in a way that makes teenage boys seem lovely. I love your words, Kristen!

  4. says

    Kristen, my son turns 14 tomorrow and we’ll be welcoming a houseful of boys too. And its raining so we have decided on Plan B, inside activities which is a bit of a disappointment for him. Spending the day at a farm, swimming in a lake and riding a four wheeler sounds more fun than seeing a movie, don’t ya think? Your story gives me some encouragement, I know they will have fun no matter what they do.

  5. says

    I have learned that with child birth, child rearing, surgeries…you name it, people love to share horror stories. As a word of encouragement, my daughter turns 25 in a few weeks and it is a joy to see the beautiful woman and friend she has morphed into! My son has been the rebel and yes, the teen years have been very trying at times, but even in the pain there is beauty. Sometimes they have to pull away in order for us to truly see and appreciate that they are God’s children first. Keep walking forward with anticipation vs. dread!
    Love you,