I don't talk much about the teens here. I'd like to, because my teens totally rock. But so much that happens in their lives is really their business. There's a fine line between telling stories about kids who don't know what they're doing (toddlers, or Micah) and telling stories about kids that are old enough to know better, and be totally mortified because their friends read something about them that they would rather not have the entire world know. And there are plenty of locals that read the blog, so word would get out in a hurry. But I have to tell this story.
And you might want to grab a tissue. I'm just warning you.
The teens in my house include Becky and Josh, and my nephew who stays with us. They're all good kids, and we're so proud of them on a daily basis. I have learned that one cannot take credit for good kids, either, because kids make their own choices in life. You can raise them right, and teach them right from wrong, and model good behavior, but kids make their own decisions on an hourly basis and sometimes their decision is the farthest thing from what you drilled into their heads. Therefore, I cannot take credit for my teens being good. They choose it, and that makes us incredibly proud of each one of them.
We have an open door policy here, and anyone who wants to stop in can. Sunday nights are fun here, with up to 10 teens sitting around the table playing cards and eating whatever we have in the house. I love Sunday nights. And every other night that we've got extras here. Which is more often than not, really. I have realized that parenting teens is so much better than parenting toddlers. I thrive at this. I merely survived the toddler phase.
My teens realized that one of the many friends who visit often could use a new pair of shoes. They discussed this among themselves and decided that they would buy shoes to supply that need. The money they had equaled a pair of shoes, but I couldn't be outdone by my own kids. I tossed in a few dollars, and the teens decided to buy a new pair of jeans with the money. The friend could probably use a new pair of jeans as well. And then word got around, and adults were moved by the fact that the teens were so generous and good hearted, and we had more and more money come in. It was so awesome to behold. At one point, we were hard pressed to find things to spend the money on, we got that much.
So I took the teens shopping over the weekend, and they chose jeans and khakis, and several shirts and hoodies. And we quietly gifted these things to our friend last evening, and said that we were all taking him shopping for new shoes, because he needed to choose whatever pair he wanted all by himself.
It was one of the most moving moments I've experienced in a long time. I have to admit to crying over the awesomeness of the whole situation a number of times, because who's teenagers choose to willingly spend their own money on someone else when there is so much they want for themselves? Have I mentioned that I'm crazy proud of the teens that live with us? Because I am. I'm so very, very proud of each and every one of them. No matter what I get this Christmas season in the way of gifts, nothing will top the one they gave me this weekend. Caring hearts can't be taught. It's a choice. And my kids chose so wisely.