Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crazy 16 Year Old Boys

Raising a 16 year old boy who is an only child is one of the hardest things I've ever done and at this point the hardest thing I think I'll ever do. Clearly I believe there will be other challenges in life but I'm not one to look out for the challenges.

Don't get me wrong, our son is a special one. In the neighborhood there are two fathers who want to trade sons with me. The cross country coach says he's easy to coach, and a great team player. His teachers love him.

We decided long ago that we wanted him to release his negative tension at home and not outside of home. Rarely do we ever tell him to stop. Like any 16 year old, he's crazy. His emotions explode at odd times and it's something to endure.

Like any 16 year old boy he's heavily influenced by things around him. We live in a community that is full of American Muscle cars, Tesla's, Maserati's and big duly trucks. It's car talk all the time. He loves watching Super Cross and my mornings are filled with the sounds to Tool, Rage Against the Machine and Green Day.

After one of his recent outburst of profanity and emotion I waited until he calmed down. I sat him down and asked him what he thinks defines a man. He had a good answer that was close to what I told him. I launched in by saying it's not about the car you drive, how much money you have in the bank, how much weight you can lift or how loud you can yell. I told him what the US Marines tell their young recruits. What makes a man is your character.

  1. Do what you say your going to do
  2. Always do your best
  3. Treat others with respect
I had an Irish mentor years ago. He put it much more succinctly. His grandfather and father were painters and they taught him to be a painter. They asked him each day after work "Can You Put Your Name To It?"

The next morning after the crazy outburst our son came down stairs after his morning shower. He was listening to Country Music. He had his usual skip in his step. He was ready to address the day with good positive humble energy.

I run with a couple guys who are fathers of young boys. As with any age they are dealing with their challenges. I think they both kringe a bit when I tell them my stories.

For a long time I tried to diagnose all of this and at times tried to insert myself into the fray. I've learned to sit back and watch it all happen. Picking the moments where I can insert wisdom that will stick. I know it sticks because his coach, teachers and the other fathers tell me it does.

It's a good life...

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