Between the ages of 15 and 16, I went through a time of rebellion. A time when I didn’t care what anyone thought and I especially didn’t care what my parents thought. Everything revolved around my friends and youth group and the time I spent hanging out with those friends at church. It didn’t matter whatever else was going on in my life. All that mattered were those friendships and everything my parents said and complained about was “crap” and didn’t mean anything to me. It especially didn’t help that I loved a particular boy who went to this church–it only fueled my big-headed-ness. I look back on that time now and I can see how much pain and hurt and real crap I went through because of those friends. My parents were only concerned about my feelings and didn’t appreciate the times I blew them off, lied to them, or did things I knew they wouldn’t like. It was a stage I’m happy to have closed the curtain on. I wouldn’t wish that mentality for anyone. I suppose nearly everyone goes through it, but I wish they didn’t.
My brother is 15 now. He’s a sophomore in high school. He’ll turn 16 in August. I hang out with the kid daily. I take him to school in the mornings and I pick him up in the afternoons. We go out to dinner and we see movies together. We talk. We help each other. My brother is one of my biggest heroes and I’m one of his.
But he’s in that stage. He doesn’t care. He rebels against my parents. Sometimes, against me. His priorities are with friends and his favorite subject in school, which is drama. He cares about nothing else. It’s true–Kyle is lazy.
When mom and dad took their vacation to Cannon Beach last weekend, Kyle decided to use that time to his advantage and invite several friends over, even though he knew he was grounded from having anyone to our house. His grades have been slipping significantly due to how all his effort is poured into drama, and so our parents have restricted him from everything, including friends. He knew it. And he did it. He went ahead and had friends over anyway. He assumed they wouldn’t find out. How wrong he was.
And now… Kyle is in for some trouble. My parents are extremely close to stripping Kyle of what he loves most–his drama class and the musical production he’s in right now. My parents talked to his drama teacher today and has agreed with them that Kyle’s attitude and priorities needs to change and really soon. I’m sure Hjamer (the teacher) will have discussed the issue with him today. Kyle is going to be really mad. I’m going to pick him up and he’s going to have a stern look on his face. He’s going to complain to me about how mom and dad aren’t being fair and don’t understand. He’s going to hate being around them and he’s going to continue disliking his circumstances. He’ll turn to his friends at school and they’ll all agree, saying, “Man, Kyle… I’m sorry. Your parents are way too hard on you.” The support Kyle desires will all come from kids who are feeling the same way about their own parents. Kids who are all going through the same phase. Kids who just don’t care.
And I’m going to sit there, turning the wheel in my car, shifting and whatnot, while Kyle rambles on and on about how wrong our parents are. And he’ll probably start getting tears in his eyes. And suddenly, I’m going to feel as though I’m sitting next to my 15-year-old self. And I’m going to want to slap