Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Being a Teenager...

My kids are growing up. I will soon have THREE teenagers in this house. One just got her drivers learning permit. One is now heading out on his own to visit friends across town, riding his bike and making new friends of both male and female variety. And the last one? She has been my baby girl for so many years. The fact that she is turning 13 at the end of the summer is mindboggling.

We've been down this road before, we have two grown daughters. We were so blessed that they were and continue to be "good" girls. They have lovely, wonderful friends, have made excellent choices for their lives.

Last summer one of my daughter's best friends from high school was found dead of a heroin overdose. I still think about it all the time. I didn't know her particularly well, she was a "school" friend...she and my daughter we close, doing plays, musicals and choir together, and making crazy plans to move to New York to become big stars. But her death haunts me. I am not sure why, except that it hit so close to home. She had a tiny son. That little boy now has to grow up without his mama, and for what? For drugs? I don't understand why so many young, talented, beautiful, smart kids with their entire lives in front of them get involved with this evil, life stealing poison.

How do we keep kids off drugs? The 1980s question still has yet to be answered. It seems to be almost unanswerable, as kids from every walk of life seem to get involved. What have we done right with our first two? I am not sure we could even tell you. We talk about it. A lot, actually. I think my kids have seen my heartbreak for other mothers over the loss of their children to drugs. They have heard me refer to it as poison. And I think they have seen a lot first hand.

When I sent my daughter, Meg, back to high school her freshman year, the very first day of school a boy just a year older offered her drugs. She came home crying. I felt like I had offered her to a pack of wolves. But she went back. She spoke up against drugs and alcohol, for religion, for life, on so many occasions that she didn't have a lot of friends. But, her last year in high school? One of the boys who was mean to her for her outspokenness came back to tell her that even when he was fighting her, he was listening. Because of her words, he thought. And then he quit doing drugs and drinking alcohol.

My Kenzie and I used to love GLEE. It's gotten weird, but we were still keeping up with it because of the old characters. If you watch TV at all, you know that Cory Monteith, who played Finn died of a drug overdose recently at the age of 31. He was a beautiful, talented young man. He spent all of his life from the age of 13 battling his addiction to drugs. Such a waste of life. It's heartbreaking, and yet we see it everywhere.

As my Jenna approaches her 13th birthday, and my other teens are beginning to stretch their wings a bit, I have been thinking about the things we did to educate their big sisters about drugs. The kids know that drugs are poison. They know they kill. And yet, so many try it anyway. Why do they do that? As homeschoolers, we are somewhat insulated against the random school drug dealer, but we can't keep them in the house forever. They have to know how to say no. They have to be equipped with the knowledge that the stuff is poison, and the strength to defy anyone who would offer it to them. How do you do that? How do you give that to them?

As I wonder about all this, and try to figure out how to arm my kids against all these evils, I pray for the soul of the girl who was my daughter's friend, for her little boy, growing up without his mama, and for all the people who get involved with drugs - that they have the strength and knowledge to stay far away from all of it, and to help their friends stay away.



  1. The drug problem is just so sad. I know it's at every level but at least with home schooling we know where they are and who is with them or around them most of the time. It is very sad to see top celebrities die from drugs. You just don't want to believe it.

    Your family is growing up but you still have a ways to go with those kiddos...your house will be full a very long time! which is very nice.

    1. I know, I still just can't believe Michael Jackson is dead. I know that's weird, but I always loved him - I was a superfan as a kid. Whenever one of his songs comes on I just want to cry. Unreal. And then when it happens to people you know, it just makes it really real. I hate it. I mean, HATE it, like I HATE the devil. Drugs are tools of the devil, for sure.

  2. It's horribly hard! No matter what path you choose for your children in terms of education, our corrupted culture creeps in. We pray, we pray, we pray. Our kids are 16, 17, 18, 20, 21 and we've had varying degrees of success with how culture affects them.

    Geez, it's hard. We parents need support too.

    1. As far as culture in general creeping in, we have been very fortunate that so far, our kids have LOVED going to the Summer Youth Conferences at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. The young adults who run the small groups are incredible, and really very good at explaining how the culture can be so not what God wants for us, in a way that is not lecturey at all. All three of my older girls have come home with cultural revelations from one conference or another, and I am always grateful they had the opportunity to hear it from someone other than me...

  3. Hail Mary, full of grace...


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